MUSE March April 2021 - Montbello Takes Action On COVID-19

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Inside This Issue

Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition • Volume 5 Number 4 • March/April

Montbello In The News...6-8 Elected Officials Speak Out...9-11 A Montbello High Five...11-12 Resources For Residents...13 Voices From The Neighborhood...14-16 Montbello Family Portraits...17-19 Montbello Viewpoints...20-22

Montbello Gets Vaccinated!..4

Montbello Community Takes Action On COVID-19 Montbello resident gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Kiera Jackson

WE’RE HERE, NOW IN GREEN VALLEY RANCH As a Colorado-based credit union since 1936, Bellco is proud to announce the opening of our new branch at 18241 Green Valley Ranch Blvd., in the Gateway Crossing Shopping Center. Bellco supports the local community including Children’s Farms of America, an organization dedicated to helping food desert communities to establish farms for city kids in the nearby Montbello neighborhood.

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Montbello Community Takes Action On COVID-19 The people of Montbello are taking action. Keeping with the focus of the MUSE in 2021, we are bringing you stories of people who are taking action on behalf of their community. From Marina Cruz who works on behalf of The Left Behind Workers Fund (LBWF) to three men from Montbello with amazing careers yet who devote some of their time to working with students at the community college level, you will hear about people taking action. You will read about birthdays – Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) turning 25 this year and Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO) turning 58 this year. The MUSE will celebrate 5 years since publishing the first issue in August 2016. The MUSE grew out of conversations in the community about priorities. Among the priorities identified through that dialogue was a call for a communication platform that would: 1. Inform neighbors about the happenings in and around the community; 2. Report the good things about Montbello thereby changing the negative narrative about this community; 3. Elevate the voices of those who live, work, play, and pray here. We continue to hold those directives paramount. Finally, this March/April issue focuses on our community’s emerging recovery from the pandemic starting with residents getting COVID vaccines and on the heightened attention being paid in Montbello on the need for mental and behavioral health services and supports. There is no more powerful example of people taking action than that of the members who comprise the Montbello Mental Health Circle. Less than a year ago this determined group of folks began meeting to determine a plan of action to address the desperate need for mental and behavioral health services for adults, children, and youth whose experiences with trauma, violence, abuse, depression, grief, and substance misuse are all too often debilitating at best and deadly at worst. They put a price tag on what it would take to begin to address these issues that have only been exacerbated by the stresses of the pandemic and pursued funding sources to meet that estimate. Funding to launch the first phase of that action plan is in place and services are already being offered. We direct you to the articles regarding culturally-responsive mental health services that will be offered by MHCD, the appointment of the first Chief of Mental Health Services in the Denver Sheriff’s department, and increased support groups for families who have experienced violent acts. LaToya Petty shares her personal loss of a family member and how losing herself in art brought healing and peace to her broken heart. These stories will set the stage for an even deeper dive into mental health and erasing the stigma of getting help as we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month in May’s issue. Stay well and be healthy. Get your vaccine when you are eligible, and take action on behalf of yourself and/or others.

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, Mary Ann Bash, Darrell Anderson, LaToya Petty, Nora Kimball, Gloria Rubio-Cortez, Dr. Nikki Johnson, Loretta Pineda, Vernon Jones, Janeta Evans, Dr. Donna Wilson, Marina Cruz PHOTOGRAPHER - Katy Tartakoff, William Curtis, Kiera Jackson 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 – March/April 2021


As of February 28, 2021,

the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that just under 1.4 million Coloradoans had received COVID-19 vaccinations. A few thousand of those were residents of the Greater Montbello area thanks to the actions of people like our own Julia Ellington and Mary Etta Curtis, members of the Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce (CVET). The CVET exists to ensure all groups – regardless of race, ethnicity, ability and other factors – have all the facts to make informed decisions about the safety of vaccines for their families, and to hold leaders accountable for ensuring access to vaccines for all. When asked why they were part of the Taskforce, Ms. Ellington replied, “We wanted to be on the frontline to ensure that our community would have information based on science and to have firsthand knowledge of the distribution of the vaccine to share with the community.” Ms. Ellington and Ms. Curtis organized their first vaccine clinic at the end of January with a focus on reaching out to people of color who were 70 years old and older. One hundred fourteen vaccines were administered that day to eligible residents who simply drove through the clinic to receive their first dose of the vaccine. They will continue to organize clinics through March to ensure that eligible residents get first and second doses. In mid-February, The City and County of Denver opened the first of four communitybased sites at Montbello Recreation Center in partnership with Denver Health and Hospi-

Montbello Gets Vaccinated! By Donna Garnett, Editor, MUSE

•Long-term care facility staff and residents Phase 1B.1 •Coloradans age 70+, moderate-risk health care workers, and first responders •Health care workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients •Firefighters, police, COVID-19 response personnel, correctional workers, and funeral service providers Phase 1B.2 •Coloradans age 65-69 •PK-12 educators and child care workers in licensed child care programs, and state government Phase 1B.3 •People age 60 and older, frontline essential agricultural and grocery store workers •People age 16-59 with two or more conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2), Down syndrome, specific heart conditions, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, solid organ transplant, individuals with disabilities who require direct care in their home, and people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks Phase 1B.4 •People age 50 and older,

tal Authority. “Vaccinations have been taking place in Denver thanks to many partners, including health care providers, the State and local public officials hosting temporary pop-up sites. Our goal is to create greater predictability and access with communitybased sites that are more permanent,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “And to support equity, we are focusing our sites in communities that have been disparately impacted by the virus.” The intent of the city’s focus on equity driven strategies at community-based sites is to improve vaccine access for older adults, people with disabilities, immigrant and refugee communities, and racial and ethnic minority groups that are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19. Who is Eligible to Receive Vaccines? Colorado is currently making vaccines available to those who are in Phase 1. Priority is constrained by the number of vaccines made available to our state. As of March 1, Phase 1 included: Phase 1A •Highest-risk health care workers and individuals

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


frontline essential workers, people with high-risk conditions, and the continuation of operations for state government and continuity of local government •Phase 2 will include the general public not included in Phase 1 and will begin as more vaccines are available. Montbello Organizing Committee is working with a collective of organizations in Montbello and partnering with Denver Health to bring COVID-19 vaccines to all our neighbors. Eligible residents MUST register beforehand and receive confirmation to receive a vaccination. To register to receive vaccines and to get on the waitlist, sign up at After a full year of quarantining, remote learning, wearing masks, grieving the loss of family and friends, we all are looking forward to a return to normal. Yet, it is imperative that we remain patient and continue to use basic public health guidance, like physical distancing and mask-wearing, until a vaccine is widely available and used by virtually all Coloradans. As we tentatively look forward to being with friends and family; returning to in-person work, school, and church; and traveling to places near and far it is important to realize that even with protection of both doses of the vaccine, scientists do not know the extent to which those who are vaccinated can still carry asymptomatic infection. Therefore, to protect those around us who do not yet have the protection of the vaccine, we must all mask up. Y Editor’s note: For the most upto-date information on COVID-19 vaccines, go to vaccine. vaccine.

Desde el 28 de febrero de

2021, el Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado informó que poco menos de 1.4 millones de habitantes de Colorado habían recibido la vacuna COVID-19. Algunos miles de ellos eran residentes del gran Área Metropolitana de Montbello, gracias a las acciones de personas como nuestra propia Julia Ellington y Mary Etta Curtis, miembros del Grupo de Trabajo de Equidad de Vacunas de Colorado (CVET). La CVET existe para garantizar que todos los grupos – independientemente de su raza, etnia, capacidad y otros factores – tengan todos los hechos para tomar decisiones informadas sobre la seguridad de las vacunas para sus familias y para responsabilizar a los líderes de garantizar el acceso a las vacunas para todos. Cuando se le preguntó por qué eran parte del Grupo de Trabajo, la Sra. Ellington respondió: “Queríamos estar en primera línea para asegurarnos de que nuestra comunidad tuviera información basada en la ciencia y tener conocimiento de primera mano de la distribución de la vacuna para compartir con la comunidad.” La Sra. Ellington y la Sra. Curtis organizaron su primera clínica de vacunas a fines de enero con un enfoque en llegar a las personas de color que tenían 70 años o más. Ese día se administraron ciento catorce vacunas a residentes elegibles que simplemente condujeron a través de la clínica para recibir su primera dosis de la vacuna. Continuarán organizando clínicas hasta marzo para garantizar que los residentes elegibles reciban la primera y segunda dosis. A mediados de febrero, la

Montbello Se Vacuna! Por Donna Garnett, Editora, MUSE Traducido por Marta Welch de los centros de atención a largo plazo Fase 1B.1 •Personas de Colorado mayores de 70 años, trabajadores de la salud de riesgo moderado y socorristas •Trabajadores de la salud con menos contacto directo con pacientes con COVID-19 •Bomberos, policía, personal de respuesta COVID-19, trabajadores penitenciarios y proveedores de servicios funerarios Fase 1B.2 •Personas de Colorado de 65 a 69 años •Educadores desde el jardín de infancia hasta el doceavo grado, trabajadores en programas de cuidado infantil con licencia, y el gobierno estatal Fase 1B.3 •Personas de 60 años o más, trabajadores agrícolas y de supermercados esenciales de primera línea •Personas de 16 a 59 años con dos o más afecciones como cáncer, enfermedad renal crónica, EPOC, diabetes mellitus (tipos 1 y 2), síndrome de Down, afecciones cardíacas específicas, obesidad, embarazo, anemia de células falciformes, trasplante de órganos sólidos, personas con discapacidades que requieren atención directa en su hogar y personas con discapacidades que les impiden usar máscaras Fase 1B.4 •Personas de 50 años o más, trabajadores esenciales de primera línea, personas con afecciones de alto riesgo y la continuación de las operaciones para el gobierno estatal y la continuidad del gobierno local.

Ciudad y el Condado de Denver abrieron el primero de cuatro sitios comunitarios en el Centro de Recreación Montbello en colaboración con la Autoridad de Salud y hospitales de Denver. “Las vacunas se han estado llevando a cabo en Denver gracias a muchos socios, incluyendo proveedores de atención médica, el estado y funcionarios públicos locales que reciben sitios emergentes temporales. Nuestro objetivo es crear una mayor previsibilidad y acceso con sitios basados en la comunidad que sean más permanentes”, dijo el Alcalde Michael B. Hancock. “Y para apoyar la equidad, estamos enfocando nuestros sitios en comunidades que se han visto afectadas disparmente por el virus.” La intención de la ciudad de centrarse en las estrategias impulsadas por la equidad en los sitios basados en la comunidad es mejorar el acceso a las vacunas para los adultos mayores, las personas con discapacidades, las comunidades de inmigrantes y refugiados, y los grupos de minorías raciales y étnicas que corren un mayor riesgo de morir de COVID-19. ¿Quién es Elegible para Recibir Vacunas? Colorado está poniendo actualmente las vacunas a disposición de aquellos que están en Fase 1. La prioridad está limitada por el número de vacunas disponibles para nuestro estado. A partir del 1 de marzo, la Fase 1 incluía: Fase 1A •Trabajadores y personas de atención médica de mayor riesgo •El personal y los residentes

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


•La Fase 2 incluirá al público en general no incluido en la Fase 1 y comenzará a medida que haya más vacunas disponibles. El Comité Organizador de Montbello está trabajando con un colectivo de organizaciones en Montbello y asociándose con Denver Health para llevar las vacunas COVID-19 a todos nuestros vecinos. Los residentes elegibles DEBEN registrarse de antemano y recibir confirmación para recibir una vacuna. Para registrarse para recibir vacunas y estar en la lista de espera, regístrese en Después de un año completo de cuarentena, aprendizaje remoto, uso de máscaras, el duelo por la pérdida de familiares y amigos, todos esperamos volver a la normalidad. Sin embargo, es imperativo que seamos pacientes y sigamos utilizando las pautas básicas de salud pública, como el distanciamiento físico y el uso de mascarillas, hasta que una vacuna esté ampliamente disponible y sea utilizada por prácticamente todos los habitantes de Colorado. Mientras esperamos tentativamente estar con amigos y familiares; regresar al trabajo en persona, la escuela y la iglesia; y al viajar a lugares cercanos y lejanos, es importante darse cuenta de que incluso con la protección de ambas dosis de la vacuna, los científicos no saben hasta qué punto los vacunados pueden ser portadores de una infección asintomática. Por eso, para proteger a los que nos rodean que aún no cuentan con la protección de la vacuna, todos debemos enmascararnos.Y Para obtener la información más actualizada sobre las vavacunas COVID-19, visite a vaccine. vaccine.


The Flyway Update

The Flyway, a communitydriven effort of many years, is a proposed 32-acre retail town center to be located at the southeast corner of Green Valley Ranch Boulevard and Airport Boulevard. The development will be anchored by a full-service COSTCO, with Airport Boulevard as the primary vehicular route in and out of the site. Since The Flyway’s September 2020 approval by the Denver City Council, including a financial investment from the City in the project, the development team has moved forward with its application for property rezoning to allow for grocery store uses— the most highly desired type of retailer in The Flyway’s underserved neighborhood. In February 2020, prior to the closures and delays caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, The Flyway’s developers, Denver Connection and Goldberg Properties, hosted a large community meeting at Maxwell

Actualización de the Flyway

Elementary School in Montbello. At the meeting, community members provided thoughtful input and support to the development partnership in its endeavor to bring a full-service grocery store, high-quality jobs, as well as retail and dining opportunities in a town center concept that is centered on an open-space plaza to the neighborhood. With these opportunities, the development is expected to bring more than 400 living wages, good benefit jobs to Montbello. Moving forward, The Flyway development timeline is anticipated as follows: •Rezoning Process: Presently underway, working with the City’s Community & Development Agency, with the expectation that the proposal will reach the Planning Board in early April and the City Council for new zoning approval in May 2021. •If approved by City Council, the construction of the Flyway project is estimated to begin in the 4th Quarter of 2021. •It is anticipated that the Grand Opening of COSTCO and the Town Center will occur in the 3rd Quarter of 2022. While the pandemic has precluded holding another in-person meeting at this time, the development partnership anticipates hosting a virtual meeting in the coming months. In the meantime, retail brokerage Sullivan & Hayes has been hired to market the development to prospective tenants, and the developers will continue to be in close contact with the leaders of neighborhood organizations. Please visit for more information, including leasing availability. Y

El Flyway, un esfuerzo impulsado por la comunidad durante muchos años, es un centro urbano comercial de 32 acres propuesto que se ubicará en la esquina sureste de Green Valley Ranch Boulevard y Airport Boulevard. El desarrollo estará anclado por un COSTCO de servicio completo, con Airport Boulevard como la ruta vehicular principal dentro y fuera del sitio. Desde la aprobación de The Flyway en septiembre de 2020 por parte del Concejo Municipal de Denver, incluida una inversión financiera de la Ciudad en el proyecto, el equipo de desarrollo ha avanzado con su solicitud de rezonificación de propiedades para permitir el uso de tiendas de comestibles, el tipo de minorista más deseado en el vecindario desatendido de The Flyway. En febrero de 2020, antes de los cierres y retrasos causados por la pandemia de coronavirus, los desarrolladores de The Flyway, Denver Connection y Goldberg Properties, organizaron una gran reunión comunitaria en la escuela primaria Maxwell en Montbello. En la reunión, los miembros de la comunidad brindaron apoyo y apoyo a la asociación de desarrollo en su esfuerzo por brindar una tienda de abarrotes de servicio completo, trabajos de alta calidad, así como oportunidades de venta minorista y restaurantes en un concepto de centro de la ciudad que se centra en un Plazato en espacios abiertos del vecindario. Con estas oportunidades, se espera que el desarrollo traiga más de 400 empleos con buenos salarios y beneficios a Montbello.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


En el futuro, el cronograma de desarrollo de the Flyway se anticipa de la siguiente manera: •Proceso de rezonificación: actualmente en marcha, trabajando con la Agencia de Desarrollo y Comunidad de la Ciudad, con la expectativa de que la propuesta llegue a la Junta de Planificación a principios de abril y al Concejo Municipal para la aprobación de una nueva zonificación en mayo de 2021. •Si el Ayuntamiento lo aprueba, se estima que la construcción del proyecto Flyway comenzará en el cuarto trimestre de 2021. •Se prevé que la gran inauguración de COSTCO y el Town Center ocurrirá en el tercer trimestre de 2022. Si bien la pandemia ha impedido celebrar otra reunión en persona en este momento, la asociación para el desarrollo prevé organizar una reunión virtual en los próximos meses. Mientras tanto, se contrató a la corredora minorista Sullivan & Hayes para comercializar el desarrollo a posibles inquilinos, y los desarrolladores continuarán en estrecho contacto con los líderes de las organizaciones vecinales. Visita www.TheFlywayDenver.compara obtener más información, incluida la disponibilidad de arrendamiento.Y

Bellco Opens Newest Branch in Green Valley Ranch Makes Donation to Montbello’s Children’s Farms Organization Bellco Credit Union had a ribbon cutting for its newest


branch in Denver’s Green Valley Ranch today, bringing its total number of branch locations in the Denver metro area to 25, with one in Grand Junction. Located at 18241 Green Valley Ranch Blvd., at the intersection with Tower Road in Denver, the new stand-alone branch offers convenient drivethru access and self-service banking options with the Express Teller Machine and 24Hour ATM service. It also provides a full-service lobby and drive-up teller that are both open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “Denver’s far northeast continues to see tremendous growth, with many people moving there as well as business expansion,” said John Rivera, Bellco’s senior vice president and chief retail officer. “It’s important for Bellco to have a strong presence where its members are living and working, and this is the perfect location for our ongoing branch expansion.” As part of its longtime commitment to supporting local nonprofit organizations, Bellco made a $5,000 donation to Children’s Farms of America, which helps food desert communities establish farms for city kids in the nearby Montbello neighborhood. Now in its 85th year, Bellco is continuing to support the health and wellness of its members and employees dur-

tenga una fuerte presencia donde sus miembros vivan y trabajen, y este es el lugar perfecto para nuestra expansión de sucursales en curso.” Como parte de su compromiso de largo tiempo para apoyar a organizaciones locales sin fines de lucro, Bellco hizo una donación de $5,000 a Children’s Farms of America, que ayuda a las comunidades con desiertos de alimentos a establecer granjas para niños de la ciudad en el cercano vecindario de Montbello. Ahora en su 85 aniversario, Bellco continúa apoyando la salud y el bienestar de sus miembros y empleados durante la pandemia de COVID-19 al fomentar el banco móvil y en línea, ofrecer servicio de traslado y programar consultas por video y teléfono para los miembros que deseen hablar. con un especialista financiero

ing the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging online and mobile banking, offering drive-up service and scheduling video and phone consultations for members who wish to speak with a Bellco financial specialist from the comfort of their home.

Bellco Abre La Nueva Sucursal En Green Valley Ranch Y Hace Una Donación A La Organización De Granjas Infantiles De Montbello Traducido por Marta Welch Bellco Credit Union tuvo un corte de cinta para su nueva sucursal en Green Valley Ranch de Denver hoy, elevando su número total de sucursales en el área metropolitana de Denver a 25, con una en Grand Junction. Ubicada en 18241 Green Valley Ranch Blvd., en la intersección con Tower Road en Denver, la nueva sucursal independiente ofrece un cómodo acceso desde el automóvil y opciones bancarias de autoservicio con el Cajero Express Automático y el servicio de Cajero Automático de 24 horas. También ofrece un vestíbulo de servicio completo y un cajero automático que están abiertos de lunes a viernes, de 9 a.m. a 5:30 p.m., y los sábados, de 9 a.m. a 1 p.m. “El Extremo Noreste de Denver sigue teniendo un crecimiento tremendo, con muchas personas moviéndose allí, así como la expansión del negocio”, dijo John Rivera, vicepresidente principal y director de ventas minoristas de Bellco. “Es importante que Bellco

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


de Bellco desde la comodidad de su hogar.

Denver Receives Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Funds The City and County of Denver is receiving nearly $22 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Launched by the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Emergency Rental Assistance program makes available financial assistance to families that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 90 percent of the funding can be used for rent, utilities and home energy costs, back rent, utilities and home energy costs, and other

MONTBELLO IN THE NEWS - MONTBELLO EN LAS NOTICIAS expenses related to housing. Up to 10 percent of remaining funds are available for administrative costs and housing stability services, including case management and other services intended to keep households stably housed. The new program will complement Denver’s locally funded Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance program as well as a similar program deployed with federal Coronavirus Relief Funds last year. Together, these programs served more than 2,100 unique households between MarchDecember 2020. The Emergency Rental Assistance program will be administered by Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST). The U.S. Department of Treasury is working to issue further guidance regarding the requirements of the Emergency Rental Assistance program. The city is reviewing existing program guidelines, potential partnerships and determining next steps for deploying funds into the community. The Emergency Rental Assistance program will be available to renter individuals and families earning up to 80 percent of the area median income (up to $54,950 for a single-person household, or up to $78,500 for a family of four). To qualify, households must include at least one member who qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19. Households must also demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Eligible households that include an individual who has been unem-

nanciera a las familias que no pueden pagar el alquiler y los servicios públicos debido a la pandemia de COVID-19. Hasta el 90 por ciento de los fondos se pueden utilizar para alquiler, servicios públicos y costos de energía del hogar, alquiler atrasado, servicios públicos y costos de energía del hogar, y otros gastos relacionados con la vivienda. Hasta el 10 por ciento de los fondos restantes están disponibles para costos administrativos y servicios de estabilidad de la vivienda, incluida la administración de casos y otros servicios destinados a mantener a los hogares en una vivienda estable. El nuevo programa complementará la financiación local de Denver, Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance program, así como un programa similar implementado con los Fondos Federales de Ayuda para el Coronavirus el año pasado. Juntos, estos programas sirvieron a más de 2,100 hogares únicos entre marzo y diciembre de 2020. El programa de Asistencia de Emergencia para el Alquiler será administrado por el Departamento de Estabilidad de la Vivienda de Denver (HOST). El Departamento del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos está trabajando para emitir más orientación con respecto a los requisitos del programa de Asistencia de Alquiler de Emergencia. La ciudad está revisando las pautas del programa existente, las posibles asociaciones y determinando los próximos pasos para distribuir fondos en la comunidad. El programa de Asistencia de Emergencia para el Alquiler estará disponible para inquilinos individuales y familias que ganen hasta el 80 por ciento del ingreso medio del área (hasta $54,950 para un hogar

ployed for the 90 days prior to application for assistance and households with income at or below 50 percent of the area median income (up to $35,950 for a single-person household, or up to $50,000 for a household of four) are to be prioritized for assistance. City and County of Denver residents currently seeking rental and utility assistance may call 3-1-1 and select option 6. •Callers will be asked some basic questions, such as their address •A local nonprofit partner will be assigned to assist eligible callers •Callers will be asked to provide: •Proof of household income •Proof of City and County of Denver residency •Proof of rent, mortgage and/or utilities due or in arrears •Information about how COVID-19 caused/contributed to the housing crisis (job loss, potential eviction, and/or shutoff notice)

Denver Recibe Fondos Federales de Asistencia para el Alquiler de Emergencia Traducido por Marta Welch La Ciudad y el Condado de Denver están recibiendo casi $22 millones en fondos federales de asistencia de alquiler de emergencia del Departamento del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos. Lanzado por el Departamento del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos, el programa de Asistencia de Emergencia para el Alquiler ofrece asistencia fi-

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


de una sola persona o hasta $78,500 para una familia de cuatro). Para calificar, los hogares deben incluir al menos un miembro que califique para el desempleo o que haya experimentado una reducción en los ingresos del hogar, haya incurrido en costos significativos o haya experimentado dificultades financieras debido a COVID-19. Los hogares también deben demostrar el riesgo de experimentar la falta de vivienda o la inestabilidad de la vivienda. Hogares elegibles que incluyen a una persona que ha estado desempleada durante los 90 días anteriores a la solicitud de asistencia y hogares con ingresos iguales o inferiores al 50 por ciento del ingreso medio del área (hasta $35,950 para un hogar de una sola persona, o hasta $50,000 para un hogar de cuatro) deben ser priorizados para recibir asistencia. Los residentes de la Ciudad y el Condado de Denver que actualmente buscan asistencia con el alquiler y los servicios públicos pueden llamar al 3-11 y seleccionar la opción 6. •A las personas que llamen se les harán algunas preguntas básicas, como su dirección •Se asignará un socio local sin fines de lucro para ayudar a los llamantes elegibles •Se pedirá a las personas que llamen que proporcionen: •Prueba de los ingresos familiares •Prueba de la residencia de la Ciudad y el Condado de Denver •Prueba de alquiler, hipoteca y/o servicios públicos vencidos o atrasados •Información sobre cómo COVID-19 causó/contribuyó a la crisis de vivienda (pérdida de empleo, desalojo potencial y/o aviso de corte


Learn More About The “Healthy Residential Rental For All” Policy By Denver City Council President, Stacie Gilmore


n 2019, a constituent reached out to me about a house in our district that had serious health and safety concerns. My council office immediately started to work with the City to get the home remediated, there were live wires exposed, mold under the sink, improper ventilation, and many other issues. The family with children was struggling to find a home and had rented the property sight unseen. They had already put a deposit and first month’s rent and felt stuck in this rental property. That is when I started talking with city agencies to see how we can ensure that our city’s housing standards are maintained for rentals. Over the past year and a half, my office has been putting together the rental license policy called “Healthy Residential Rental for All” to: •Ensure the minimum housing standards of rental units are maintained for the welfare, safety, and health of those residing in them. •Track our city’s housing stock – currently, we don’t

even know how many rentals we have in the city, especially when you think of all the single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes, and condos that are rented out. We believe knowing our housing stock is critical to solving our housing needs. •Help stabilize housing by utilizing basic landlord and property owner information to share resources, and encourage more outreach between landlord and tenant, especially in these times of greater need. We have been in a housing crisis for decades and it has been exasperated due to COVID-19. The residential rental license proposal would have phasing starting next Jan 2022 with early licensing options to Jan 2024, phasing in multi-dwelling (in 2023) and single-dwelling units (in 2024), and licenses would require a small fee and inspection process. I presented the full policy proposal on January 28 to the Denver City Council Budget and Policy committee: yer/clip/14033?view_id=180& redirect=true. Please reach out to Magen Elenz at or me if you have any other questions about the policy. In other exciting news Sprouts announced it is coming to Green Valley Ranch! The Developer Evergreen announced that it expects construction to begin in March on the 23,300-square-foot store at the intersection of East 56th Avenue and Tower Road. If you need to reach out to me please email or call 720-337-7711. We have been sending our email newsletter

every Wednesday with news and updates. If you would like to receive it, sign up here: Bit.Ly/2XaJSPG. Y

Más Información Sobre La Póliza De “Alquiler Residencial Saludable Para Todos” Por Presidente del Concejo Municipal de Denver, Stacie Gilmore Traducido por Marta Welch En 2019, un elector se comunicó conmigo sobre una casa en nuestro distrito que tenía serios problemas de salud y seguridad. La oficina de mi consejo inmediatamente comenzó a trabajar con la Ciudad para reparar la casa, había cables con corriente expuestos, moho debajo del fregadero, ventilación inadecuada y muchos otros problemas. La familia con niños estaba luchando por encontrar un hogar y había alquilado la propiedad sin ser vista. Ya habían puesto un depósito y el primer mes de alquiler y se sentían atrapados en esta propiedad de alquiler. Fue entonces cuando comencé a hablar con las agencias de la ciudad para ver cómo podemos asegurarnos de que se mantengan los estándares de vivienda de nuestra ciudad para los alquileres. Durante el último año y medio, mi oficina ha estado elaborando la póliza de licencias de alquiler llamada “Alquiler Residencial Saludable para Todos” para: •Asegurar que se mantengan los estándares mínimos de vivienda de las unidades de alquiler para el bienestar, la seguridad y la salud de quienes residen en ellas. •Realice un seguimiento del

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


inventario de viviendas de nuestra ciudad: actualmente ni siquiera sabemos cuántos alquileres tenemos en la ciudad, especialmente cuando piensa en todas las casas unifamiliares, dúplex, casas adosadas y condominios que se alquilan. Creemos que conocer nuestro stock de viviendas es fundamental para resolver nuestras necesidades de vivienda. •Ayude a estabilizar la vivienda utilizando la información básica del propietario y el propietario para compartir recursos, y fomentar un mayor alcance entre el propietario y el inquilino, especialmente en estos tiempos de mayor necesidad. Hemos estado en una crisis de vivienda durante décadas y se ha exasperado debido al COVID-19. La propuesta de licencia de alquiler residencial tendría una fase a partir del próximo enero de 2022 con opciones de licencia anticipada hasta enero de 2024, una fase en unidades de viviendas múltiples (en 2023) y unidades de una sola vivienda (en 2024), y las licencias requerirían una pequeña tarifa y un proceso de inspección. Presenté la propuesta de póliza completa el 28 de enero al comité de Política y Presupuesto del Ayuntamiento de Denver: w_id=180&redirect=true. Por favor comuníquese con Magen Elenz a o conmigo si tiene alguna otra pregunta sobre la póliza. ¡En otras noticias emocionantes, Sprouts anunció que llegará a Green Valley Ranch! El desarrollador Evergreen anunció que espera que la construcción comience en marzo en la tienda de 23,300 pies cuadra-

ELECTED OFFICIALS SPEAK OUT - OFICIALES ELEGIDOS HABLAN dos en la intersección de East 56th Avenue y Tower Road. Si necesita comunicarse conmigo, envíe un correo electrónico a o llame al 720-337-7711. Hemos estado enviando nuestro boletín informativo por correo electrónico todos los miércoles con noticias y actualizaciones. Si desea recibirlo, regístrese aquí: Bit.Ly/2XaJSPG. Y

2021 Session Updates, Actions

By Senator James Coleman, Colorado General Assembly Senate District 33

As we restart the legis-

lative session, we are thankful for all the opportunities that have already presented themselves to further justice, equity, and healing in our community, and look forward to many more. Coloradans have shown a willingness to continue to stay patient through these challenging times, and as we work through the Governor’s vaccine plan, more of Colorado will be able to open. It is not long until we can all be together again, and I’m excited to have returned to the Capitol a few weeks ago to work with my colleagues to keep us on this path forward. Following are updates on actions we are currently taking and next steps for the 2021 session.

Legislative Session Update The legislative session resumed on Tuesday, February 16th. Governor Polis and Legislative Leadership have tasked us with developing a stimulus package to build back a stronger Colorado by creating good-paying jobs and supporting our small businesses. Over the next month, I look forward to working with my colleagues to hone this package of legislation, and will keep you informed. I have three legislative priorities over the next four years: eliminating the Black wealth gap, eliminating prison recidivism, and eliminating youth violence. Here is an update on what my office is doing to achieve these priorities. Prison Recidivism IDs for Department of Colorado offenders One of our bills will create a program within the Colorado Department of Corrections that ensures that anyone who is eligible for a State ID card has one when leaving the DOC. Whether it is a driver’s license or other state issued ID card, this will be a major step in helping people who are released from DOC get back on their feet and not return. Rebuild Your Mind – Traumatic Brain Injury Bill Another bill we are working on focuses on understanding the traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that a large proportion of incarcerated individuals suffer from. Our bill creates a program that will evaluate individuals after sentencing for TBIs; so their time spent in the Department of Corrections will not further the trauma an individual is already suffering. Instead, the time in DOC will help rehabilitate incarcerated

individuals and set them up for success upon their release. Expungements Bill My office is also working on a bill that will automatically expunge nonviolent criminal offenses. Colorado’s current process of sealing records has too many barriers for individuals with qualifying offenses to access, and even when an individual does get their records sealed, the current process does not do enough to make those records inaccessible. Youth Violence High School Transitions Bill To round out our work, we have a bill that continues to make Colorado a leading state in alternative approaches to high school. This bill will allow students that have completed their graduation requirements and do not need their fourth year of high school to pursue other options outside of the traditional experience. As your State Senator, I am continuing to work hard to ensure that our community gets the resources it needs to get through the challenges we face. I have been eagerly working on your behalf this month and there is nothing in my way to get the important work done to help my constituents of SD33 and the rest of Colorado. I am here for you and available please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my office with any thoughts, questions, or needs. I hope you joined me in the virtual events honoring Black History Month, and that you and yours remain safe and healthy. Deepest thanks for all of your support. I’m honored to represent you.Y Reach out to Senator-elect Coleman at (720) 297-5301 or email him at

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


Actualizaciones de la sesión 2021, acciones Por El Senador James Coleman, Distrito Senatorial 33 de la Asamblea General de Colorado Traducido por Marta Welch Al reiniciar la sesión legislativa, estamos agradecidos por todas las oportunidades que ya se han presentado para promover la justicia, la equidad y la sanación en nuestra comunidad, y esperamos muchas más. Los habitantes de Colorado han demostrado su voluntad de seguir siendo pacientes durante estos tiempos difíciles y, a medida que trabajamos en el plan de vacunas del gobernador, más de Colorado será capaz de abrirse. No falta mucho para que podamos estar todos juntos nuevamente, y estoy emocionado de haber regresado al Capitolio hace unas semanas para trabajar con mis colegas y mantenernos en este camino hacia adelante. A continuación, se encuentran actualizaciones sobre las acciones que estamos tomando actualmente y los próximos pasos para la sesión de 2021. Actualización De La Sesión Legislativa La sesión legislativa se reanudó el martes 16 de febrero. El gobernador Polis y el Liderazgo Legislativo nos han encomendado la tarea de desarrollar un paquete de estímulo para reconstruir un Colorado más fuerte mediante la creación de empleos bien pagados y el apoyo a nuestras pequeñas empresas. Durante el próximo mes, espero trabajar con mis colegas para perfeccionar este paquete de legislación y los mantendré informados.

OFICIALES ELEGIDOS HABLAN Tengo tres prioridades legislativas para los próximos cuatro años: eliminar la brecha de riqueza de los AfroAmericanos, eliminar la reincidencia en las cárceles y eliminar la violencia juvenil. Aquí hay una actualización de lo que está haciendo mi oficina para lograr estas prioridades. Reincidencia en Prisión Identificaciones para Delincuentes del Departamento de Colorado (DOC) Uno de nuestros proyectos de ley creará un programa dentro del Departamento Correccional de Colorado que asegura que cualquier persona que sea elegible para una tarjeta de identificación estatal tenga una al salir del DOC. Ya sea una licencia de conducir u otra tarjeta de identificación emitida por el estado, este será un paso importante para ayudar a las personas que salen del DOC a recuperarse y no regresar. Otro proyecto de ley en el que estamos trabajando se centra en comprender las lesiones cerebrales traumáticas (LCT) que padecen una gran proporción de las personas encarceladas. Nuestro proyecto de ley crea un programa que evaluará a las personas después de la sentencia por LCT, para que el tiempo que pasen en el Departamento de Correcciones no aumente el trauma que ya está sufriendo una persona. En cambio, el tiempo en DOC ayudará a rehabilitar a las personas encarceladas y prepararlas para el éxito después de su liberación. Proyecto de la Ley de Cancelaciones Mi oficina también está trabajando en un proyecto de ley que eliminará automáticamente los delitos penales no violentos. El proceso actual de Colorado de sellar registros tiene demasiadas barreras para que

accedan las personas con delitos calificados, e incluso cuando una persona consigue sellar sus registros, el proceso actual no hace lo suficiente para que esos registros sean inaccesibles. La Violencia Juvenil Proyecto de Ley de Transición a la Escuela Secundaria Para completar nuestro trabajo, tenemos un proyecto de ley que continúa haciendo de Colorado un estado líder en enfoques alternativos a la escuela secundaria. Este proyecto de ley permitirá a los estudiantes que hayan completado sus requisitos de graduación y no necesiten su cuarto año de escuela secundaria buscar otras opciones fuera de la experiencia tradicional. Como su Senador Estatal, sigo trabajando duro para asegurar que nuestra comunidad obtenga los recursos que necesita para superar los desafíos que enfrentamos. He estado trabajando con entusiasmo en su nombre este mes y no hay nada en mi camino para hacer el trabajo importante para ayudar a mis constituyentes de SD33 y el resto de Colorado. Estoy aquí para ti y disponible – por favor no dudes en comunicarte conmigo o con mi oficina con cualquier pensamiento, pregunta o necesidad. Espero que se haya unido a mí en los eventos virtuales en honor al Mes de la Historia Afroamericana y que usted y los suyos permanezcan sanos y salvos. Un profundo agradecimiento por todo su apoyo. Es un honor representarte. Y Comuníquese con el Senador Electo Coleman al (720) 2975301 o envíe un correo elecelectrónico a colemanforcolorado


Denver Sheriff’s Department Welcomes First Chief of Mental Health Services By Dr. Nikki Johnson, Denver Sheriff Department I would like to introduce myself as the first Chief of Mental Health Services for the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD). Sheriff Elias Diggins understands the importance of valuing behavioral health services within the jail system, knowing that DSD is the second-largest mental health provider in the state of Colorado. In 44 out of 50 states, jails and prisons serve as the largest psychiatric provider within the state. This role was created to serve as the Sheriff’s delegate for all mental healthrelated functions within the jail system while also representing both the DSD and the community. The Denver Health and Hospital Authority (DHHA) provide all of the behavioral health services within the jail system, including both the Denver Detention Center and the Denver County Jail. At any given time, the DSD has more than 50% of incarcerated individuals, who have a history or current symptoms of a mental illness. DSD has several treatment-focused units, including the High Acuity Treatment (HAT) unit, the Male Transition Unit (MTU), and the Female Transition Unit (FTU). From September 2019 through December 2020, the MTU was able to transition 65% of clients to a less restrictive environment. This is important as isolation can significantly impact an individual’s symptoms of mental

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illness, leading to further decompensation and limited ability to cope with stressors. In addition, 54% of the individuals served within the MTU are people of color — 25.5% African Americans, 21.7% Hispanics, 3.8% multi-racial, and 3.0% Native American. Over the course of 2021, I will be focusing on three goals, specific to the mental health services in DSD. The first goal will be to implement a Pilot Competency Restoration Program, providing competency restoration services to incarcerated individuals within DSD where competency has been raised in their case; they have been found incompetent to proceed in their case and/or they have returned to the jail as “restored” to competency and will maintain this level of competency throughout their case. From May 2020 to October 2020, DSD had 132 court orders finding incarcerated individuals incompetent to proceed. In addition, as of February 8, 2020, 63 individuals were awaiting a competency evaluation within DSD. With this program, we will be able to expedite the court process while also providing incarcerated individuals with additional mental health support and legal education needed to understand and participate in the court proceedings. My second goal is to implement a Crisis Response Team made up of civilian mental health educated individuals, who will work with and support the deputies responding to crises involving individuals with serious mental illness. This team will use mental health skills and de-escalation techniques to avoid any use of force with the individuals in crisis. DSD will be reaching Continued on page 13

A MONTBELLO HIGH FIVE Continued from page 12 out to various community agencies and stakeholders for input on this team. Finally, I will also be focusing on all mental health services provided within both jails from entry to exit, ensuring DSD and DHHA are providing best practices in all mental health services. The focus will be on the reentry process and ensuring we have strong working relationships with various community agencies to provide a warm hand-off from the jail to the community, especially for individuals with mental illness. My vision of Mental Health Services within the DSD is to assist in criminal justice transformation by working with the community to divert individuals with mental illness away from incarceration and towards treatment. When individuals are incarcerated, they will be treated with humanity, respect, and dignity in all aspects of their stay. While incarcerated, they will be accurately and efficiently screened, assessed, diagnosed, and treated for any mental health concerns. Individuals with mental illness who find themselves in crisis will be given the opportunity to work with a mental health provider to de-escalate the situation. I look forward to future collaboration with community members and returning individuals to the community of Denver as productive citizens and respectful neighbors. Y

Montbello Men Making A Difference In Higher Education By Senator James Coleman, Senate District 33 Meet three Black DPS graduates from Montbello who are

doing the work for our community. Lynn, Eric, and Jamal are some of the few Black educators at the Community College of Denver, and it is my privilege to highlight them as an example of Montbello in action. Lynn Wilson was raised in Montbello, and growing up in a suburban, but gang-infested neighborhood taught him grit, community pride, and mental toughness. With a lot of family support and high marks at Montbello High School, he earned a full-ride engineering scholarship. He would become a first-generation graduate from the University of Oklahoma, and later, while starting his first computer company, obtained a Master’s in International Business Administration. As a Senior Tech Analyst, he knows the importance of technology and the opportunities that come with an understanding of using technology in productive ways. When he moved back to Denver, he noticed a deep division and lack of support for people of color in entrepreneurship and digital literacy. His concern turned into a calling, and while teaching business courses during the day, he developed innovative programs for both adults and youth at night and on weekends. In 2020, these digital literacy programs awarded 90 certifications to people from all walks of life. Currently, he maintains his duties and responsibilities as Program Chair of Business Administration & Economics at the Community College of Denver where he is in charge of 19 instructors who deliver over 50 courses to 1000 students.

Jamal Bowen has always had the passion to help his community grow and educate the next generation of leaders. He believes it is his obligation to give back and be part of that change. After graduating from East High School, Jamal matriculated to Ashford College, and then finished his bachelor’s in Ethnic Studies at Colorado State University before pursuing a master’s in Organizational Management. After Jamal’s collegiate experience, he started Empowering Community Entrepreneurs to create opportunities for youth to assist their educational experiences with a platform to discuss issues, needs and available resources to influence and guide the community. He continued to inspire students at the Diversified Skills Training Academy in Paynesville, Liberia (West Africa) in 2017, where he helped with youth development, leadership, and empowerment. Jamal currently serves as the First-Year Experience Coordinator and Chair of Advanced Academic Achievement (AAA) at the Community College of Denver, and also teaches Business and Entrepreneurship. Jamal is a member of the African Leadership Group (ALG) Business and Economic Opportunity Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors for African Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chair of Entrepreneurial Education. Jamal received the Post-Secondary Educator of the Year award from the Education Center on March 7, 2020. Eric S. Hamilton graduated from Montbello High School and continued on to Tuskegee

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University where he finished with a Bachelor of Science, and then continued to earn a master’s in Business Administration. Today, Eric serves as System Safety and Security Manager with Transit Safety and Security Solutions, Inc., a private engineering firm. Eric is instrumental in the system safety and security certification of municipal transit projects in a number of major metropolitan areas, including Denver. He is one of a few in the world with this specialty and is highly sought after within his industry. However, Eric’s passion continues to be paying it forward, always keeping in mind the individuals who had a hand in lifting him to a place to have opportunities and change the future generations of his family. He has participated and led mentoring programs in the Montbello area and beyond since 2003. He is a talented football coach, leading several championship youth football teams over the past sixteen years. Eric is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. through which he provided resources and programs to facilitate betterment for the community. Eric re-chartered the Montbello High School chapter of Brotha 2 Brotha, a positive image program for young Black males. Eric continued his passion in 2019, becoming an adjunct professor at Community College of Denver in the Business Department to share the knowledge and expertise that he has gained in his twenty-year career with students, many of whom have a similar background to his own.Y


Montbello Neighborhood Transit Service Pilot Planning Effort Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is excited to be in the planning stages of piloting a transit service in your community to provide a convenient new option for getting you where you need to go in and around Montbello! DOTI has created a stakeholder group of community leaders from varying backgrounds to guide planning decisions for this effort and ensure the new neighborhood transit service meets the needs of those living and working in Montbello. The planning process is scheduled to wrap up this spring with the new neighborhood transit service expected to launch in late 2021. It is too soon to determine what this neighborhood transit service will look like, but it could follow a fixed route, be on-demand, or combine several routing types for a hybrid approach. The goal of this service is to help supplement and connect to current RTD transit services wherever possible. DOTI’s planning efforts have highlighted a need to better serve more local trips and/or connections to bus stops and train stations in, and around, the Montbello neighborhood. Please reach out to DOTI’s transit team at with any questions and we’ll be in touch with stakeholders and the community as we accomplish project milestones and are closer to launching the new service. Image Blurb: City Shuttle vehicle from DOTI’s first micro-transit pilot in 2018.

Women Working In Stem Trades Workshop As students across the country continue to adapt to their new normal, the local nonprofit organization, Athletics & Beyond, holds fast to their commitment to engage, inspire, and support the next generation of citizens. In doing so, Athletics & Beyond will be hosting a virtual Career Pathways fair targeting the young ladies of Denver and Aurora Public Schools. Wednesday, March 24, from 1 to 2:15 p.m., Athletics & Beyond Career Exploration Program is partnering with the Minnesota-based organization Explore the Trades to host a virtual workshop with the goal of expanding career opportunities for young women in the 11th and 12th grades. By increasing the overall number of women working in the STEM trades, the gap of pay and representation inequity will eventually be closed as these careers will be afforded to more women and will provide them the opportunity for meaningful work with high wages. To register, visit: areer-exploration

is to support local organizations that engage youth in Montbello-based projects. When young people are connected and attached to their community, research shows that they are at less risk to be involved in violence. We support our local organizations through community minigrants, and are currently accepting applications for our fourth round of funding. Organizations that work with young people in Montbello may apply for up to $2,500 in mini-grant support. We are looking for projects that engage youth, and that are ideally also led and developed in partnership with youth. The deadline to apply for a Montbello community mini-grant is March 16th, and more information may be found at

Steps to Success will also be running a new program called the Strong African American Families (SAAF) program starting in March 2021. Offered virtually, the seven-session class is for families with 10-14 year-old children that identify as African American or Black. The program focuses on building skills to improve relationships between 10-14 year-olds and their parents, and has many years of research behind it to demonstrate its effectiveness. Each class begins with a group session, traditionally as a family meal though this will be different in the virtual setting, then youth and adults separate into groups to discuss the week’s content, and then all youth and adults come back together to discuss what they have learned. For more information, please contact Dave Bechhoefer at

Steps To Success MiniGrants And Strong African American Families Program

Steps to Success has been operating since 2011 to reduce violence against youth in Montbello by implementing prevention programs and strategies. One of our strategies

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MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021



CLLARO: Community Resource Celebrates 58 Years of Service By Gloria Rubio-Cortés, Manager of Program Development at CLLARO “One of the first doors we knocked on belonged to a Latino couple who were in their mid-80’s. The man told us that for many years he has wanted to vote, he just never knew how. He is 83 years old and he registered to vote for the first time in his life! Then, after we registered him, he got his wife to register as well. Their grandson was there, and he said that he was registered but did not know how to get his grandparents registered. They were all very excited and grateful to finally get the opportunity.” In the summer of 2020, CLLARO conducted a voter registration campaign in many Denver metro area neighborhoods. This is one of the stories of that campaign. It is also an example of how nonprofits are making a difference by helping people increase their civic participation. Headquartered in Montbello, the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, & Research Organization (CLLARO) has as its mission to empower Latinos through leadership development, advocacy, and policy research to strengthen Colorado. CLLARO has offices in the charter school Academy 360 and is one of many nonprofits sharing this office space and providing services to Montbello residents. On March 15, CLLARO will be celebrating its 58th birthday. When CLLARO was

CLLARO is responding to this increased need by finding and assisting hard-to-reach low-income Latinos and connecting them with a variety of a wide range of services, depending upon individual needs To learn more about these and other programs or to get involved, visit the website or social media at @cllaroquesi.

founded in 1964, the city’s neighborhoods, labor market, churches, and public schools were more strictly segregated than they are today. In 1964, there were almost no Latino public officials. This had been true for the entire state since before its admission to the union. Latinos have been in Colorado for a long time. Some can trace their family roots here back to the 1600s. The oldest municipality in the state is the town of San Luis where, like the state in general, Spanish was spoken before the arrival of Colorado’s English-speaking settlers. CLLARO’s vision for the future is a State of Colorado where Latinos achieve their fullest potential. Current programs and activities serve that vision. These include: The Capitol Fellowship Program provides public policy training to college students – typically the first in their families to attend college – and places them in paid internships with state legislators and other public officials and policy advocates. The Parents Advocating for Public Schools (PALS) program trains low-income minority parents to help improve education resources and out-

comes for the children who attend under-resourced public schools. The Diverse Oral Health Coalitions program brings minority community organizations, oral health care providers, and public health agencies together to promote oral health education and prevention in minority communities and improve low-income family access to oral health care services. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted CLLARO to expand its programming. Latinos – including immigrants – are infected, hospitalized, and killed by COVID-19 at higher rates than the rest of Coloradans. Given disproportionate health impacts on Latinos, and prolonged economic impact on low-income Latino workers for at least the next two years, CLLARO is urgently concerned about the health and welfare of Latinos. Unfortunately, Latinos are more likely than other Coloradans affected by the pandemic to experience food insecurity, eviction, untreated health and mental health needs, employer theft, and other economic burdens. Given the organization’s successes and lessons learned during the 2020 census outreach,

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CLLARO: Es Un Recurso Comunitario Por Gloria Rubio-Cortés, Gerente de Desarrollo de Programas de CLLARO “Una de las primeras puertas a las que llamamos pertenecía a una pareja latina que tenía alrededor de 80 años. El hombre nos dijo que durante muchos años había querido votar, pero nunca supo cómo. ¡Tiene 83 años y se registró para votar por primera vez en su vida! Luego, después de que lo registramos, fue y consiguió que su esposa también se registrara. Su nieto estaba allí y dijo que estaba registrado pero que no sabía cómo registrar a sus abuelos. Todos estaban muy emocionados y agradecidos de finalmente tener la oportunidad “. En el verano de 2020, CLLARO llevó a cabo una campaña de registro de votantes en muchos vecindarios del área metropolitana de Denver. Esta es una de las historias de esa campaña. También es un ejemplo de cómo las organizaciones sin fines de lucro están marcando la diferencia al ayudar a las personas a aumentar su participación cívica. Me gustaría presentar una organización sin fines de lucro con sede en Montbello, la Organización de


Liderazgo, Defensa e Investigación Latino de Colorado (CLLARO). Su misión es empoderar a los latinos a través del desarrollo de liderazgo, la promoción y la investigación de políticas para fortalecer a Colorado. CLLARO tiene su sede en Montbello y oficinas en la escuela autónoma Academy 360. CLLARO es una de las muchas organizaciones sin fines de lucro que comparten este espacio de oficina y brindan servicios a los residentes de Montbello. El 15 de marzo CLLARO celebrará su 58 cumpleaños. Cuando se fundó CLLARO en 1964, los vecindarios, el mercado laboral, las iglesias y las escuelas públicas de la ciudad estaban más estrictamente segregados que en la actualidad. En 1964, casi no había funcionarios públicos latinos. Esto había sido cierto para todo el estado desde antes de su admisión al sindicato. Los latinos han estado en Colorado durante mucho tiempo. Algunos pueden rastrear sus raíces familiares aquí hasta el siglo XVII. El municipio más antiguo del estado es el pueblo de San Luis donde, como en el estado en general, se hablaba español antes de la llegada de los colonos de habla inglesa de Colorado. La visión de CLLARO para el futuro es un

estado de Colorado donde los latinos alcancen su máximo potencial. Los programas y actividades actuales sirven a esa visión. El Programa de Becas CLLARO Capitol brinda capacitación en políticas públicas a estudiantes universitarios, generalmente los primeros en sus familias en asistir a la universidad, y los coloca en pasantías remuneradas con legisladores estatales y otros funcionarios públicos y defensores de políticas. El programa Parents Advocating for Public Schools capacita a padres de minorías de bajos ingresos para ayudar a mejorar los recursos educativos y los resultados de los niños que asisten a escuelas públicas de escasos recursos. El programa Diverse Oral Health Coalitions reúne a organizaciones comunitarias minoritarias, proveedores de atención de la salud bucal y agencias de salud pública para promover la educación y la prevención de la salud bucal en las comunidades minoritarias y mejorar el acceso de las familias de bajos ingresos a los servicios de salud bucal. La pandemia de COVID-19 ha llevado a CLLARO a expandir su programación. Los latinos, incluidos los inmigrantes, son infectados, hospi-

talizados y asesinados por COVID-19 en tasas más altas que el resto de los habitantes de Colorado. Dados los impactos desproporcionados en la salud de los latinos y el impacto económico prolongado en los trabajadores latinos con ingresos durante al menos los próximos dos años, CLLARO está preocupado con urgencia por la salud y el bienestar de los latinos. Desafortunadamente, los latinos tienen más probabilidades que otros habitantes de Colorado afectados por la pandemia de experimentar inseguridad alimentaria, desalojo, necesidades de salud mental y de salud no tratadas, robo por parte de los empleadores y otras cargas económicas. Dados los éxitos de la organización y las lecciones aprendidas durante el alcance del censo de 2020, CLLARO está respondiendo a esta mayor necesidad al encontrar y ayudar a los latinos de bajos ingresos a los que es difícil llegar y conectarlos con una variedad de una amplia gama de servicios, según las necesidades individuales. Para obtener más información sobre estos y otros programas e involucrarse, visite o en las redes sociales en @cllaroquesi.

Environmental Learning for KIDS Turns 25! By Loretta E. Pineda, Executive Director It’s 2021 and ELK has officially turned 25 years old. We’ve been honored to spend the past 25 years engaging and investing in a diverse community of young leaders by providing science educa-

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


tion, outdoor adventure, and career development. This is a moment to celebrate and mark the year with honored traditions, transitions, and new beginnings. Our hope is to celebrate with everyone who has helped us along this journey; our supporters, partners, leaders, and youth and families. It’s of timely significance that a place for ELK in Montbello which has been a 25-year dream of our founders and community of youth is becoming a reality this year. Construction of the ELK Education Center begins in the spring and the Montbello Open Space Park is already open for visitors. Join us this year as we take a look back at our history to reflect on our journey here and dedicate ourselves to moving forward towards 25 more amazing years. HOW IT STARTED. By Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore I met Scott fishing at Washington Park in 1994. We were both part of a youth in natural resources program started by the Honorable Ken Salazar, who was then the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Ken wanted to advance youth in natural resources, careers and diversify the workforce. The program flourished at the Department until about 1995 when there was a change in administration, and the program was no longer sustainable. Scott and I were both impacted by the program as we both received our degrees in the science fields. I received a B.S. in Zoology and Chemistry from Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Scott received his degree from Colorado State University in Wildlife Biology. We were blessed to have the

VOICES FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD - VOCES DEL BARRIO support of community leaders, family, and mentors to find our path and passion in life. So, in 1996, sitting around our kitchen table, Scott and I decided to co-found ELK. We wanted to see more diversity in science, leadership, and service. And we wanted kids who looked like us to have fun and have an opportunity in the outdoors. When we started ELK, we were volunteers with a very small budget –and our budget grew over the years to $700,000. In 2008, ELK began to plan for a home in our community. In 2010, a $6.2M community campaign was embarked to purchase, create an open space park, and build an education center on a 5.5acre parcel of land off Albrook Drive in Montbello. HOW IT IS GOING: After 20 successful years, I left ELK to run for a political office. I decided to run for City Council because, for 20 years, I saw parents struggle. I worked with parents who did not have the economic or housing stability that a family needs and deserves to make sure that they could turn around, advocate, and be involved in their child’s education. I wanted to be in a position to create legislation that would help shore up our families. This translated into affordable housing, workforce development, and livable wage jobs. Scott has continued his passion for connecting people throughout the city with the great outdoors. He now serves as the Deputy Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation. He oversees Denver’s park system with expansive open green spaces, pocket parks, tree-lined streets, historic parkways, and regional trails. I am proud that our work

Loretta E. Pineda, Directora Ejecutiva Traducción al Español de Yesica Chavez

tuna que un lugar para ELK en Montbello, que ha sido un sueño de 25 años de nuestros fundadores y la comunidad de jóvenes, se esté convirtiendo en una realidad este año. La construcción del Centro de Educación ELK comienza en la primavera y el parque Montbello Open Space ya está abierto para los visitantes. Únase a nosotros este año mientras echamos un vistazo a nuestra historia para reflexionar sobre nuestro viaje aquí y dedicarnos a avanzar hacia 25 años más increíbles. Como empezo. Por Concejala Stacie Gilmore Conocí a Scott pescando en el parque de Washington en

cursos Naturales de Colorado. Ken quería promover a los jóvenes en recursos naturales, carreras y diversificar la fuerza laboral. El programa floreció en el Departamento hasta aproximadamente 1995, cuando hubo un cambio de administración y el programa ya no era sostenible. Scott y yo nos sentimos impactados por el programa ya que ambos recibimos nuestros títulos en los campos de la ciencia. Recibí un B.S. en Zoología y Química del Colegio Estatal Metropolitano de Denver y Scott recibió su título de la Universidad Estatal de Colorado en Biología de Vida Silvestre. Tuvimos la suerte de contar con el apoyo de los líderes comunitarios, la familia y los mentores para encontrar nuestro camino y nuestra pasión en la vida. Así que en 1996, sentados alrededor de la mesa de nuestra cocina, Scott y yo fundamos ELK. Queríamos ver más diversidad en ciencia, liderazgo y servicio. Y queríamos que los niños que se parecían a nosotros se divirtieran y tuvieran una oportuni-

Es 2021 y ELK ha cumplido oficialmente 25 años. Nos sentimos honrados de pasar los últimos 25 años comprometiéndonos e invirtiendo en una comunidad diversa de jóvenes líderes al brindar educación científica, aventuras al aire libre y desarrollo profesional. Este es un momento para celebrar y marcar el año con tradiciones honradas, transiciones y nuevos comienzos. Nuestra esperanza es celebrar con todos los que nos han ayudado en este camino; nuestros simpatizantes, socios, líderes, jóvenes y familias. Es de importancia opor-

1994. Ambos éramos parte de un programa de jóvenes en recursos naturales iniciado por el Honorable Ken Salazar, quien entonces era el Director Ejecutivo del Departamento de Re-

dad al aire libre. Cuando comenzamos ELK, éramos voluntarios con un presupuesto muy pequeño, y nuestro presupuesto creció a lo largo de los años a $700,000. En 2008,

has led to the creation of one of the newest open space in Denver. ELK’s carefully laid plans for creating a home in the heart of the community we serve are becoming a reality. We love our ELK family, and we continue to work to inspire, educate and transform our youth through our life-long service to our community.

Environmental Learning for KIDS Cumple 25!

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


VOCES DEL BARRIO ELK comenzó a planificar un hogar en nuestra comunidad. En 2010, se embarcó una campaña comunitaria de $6.2M para comprar, crear un parque de espacio abierto y construir un centro educativo en una parcela de terreno de 5.5 acres en Albrook Drive en Montbello. Cómo está yendo: Después de 20 años de éxito, dejé ELK para postularme a un cargo político. Decidí postularme para el concejo municipal porque, durante 20 años, vi a los padres luchar. Trabajé con padres que no tenían la estabilidad económica o vivienda que una familia necesita y merece, abogar y participar en la educación de sus hijos. Quería estar en condiciones de crear una legislación que ayudará a nuestras familias. Esto se tradujo en viviendas asequibles, desarrollo de la fuerza laboral y empleos con salarios dignos. Scott ha continuado con su pasión por conectar a las personas de toda la ciudad con la naturaleza. Ahora se desempeña como Director Ejecutivo Adjunto de Parques y Recreación de Denver. Él supervisa el sistema de parques de Denver con amplios espacios verdes abiertos, parques pequeños, calles arboladas, avenidas históricas y senderos regionales. Estoy orgulloso de que nuestro trabajo haya llevado a la creación de uno de los espacios abiertos más nuevos de Denver. Los planes cuidadosamente establecidos por ELK para crear un hogar en el corazón de la comunidad a la que servimos se están convirtiendo en una realidad. Amamos a nuestra familia ELK y continuamos trabajando para inspirar, educar y transformar a nuestra juventud a través de nuestro servicio de por vida a nuestra comunidad. Y


You Can’t Really Know Someone Until You Know Their Story Part 3 Of 4 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 story-filled 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 families for their stories.

La Familia Soriano-Simental Family is everything for us. Our family comes from diverse backgrounds. My husband Francisco was born and raised in Francisco I Madero, Durango, Mexico with electricity and water in his home. His big family of 10 has always been very close and traditional. My favorite of his traditions is at Christmas we wrap a ceramic

La Familia Soriano-Simental

baby Jesus in a blanket and sing and pray the rosary as the godparents walk around the room and give everyone the opportunity to adore the baby. Then godparents who commit to serve for 3 years, give children a bag of candy and the family enjoys tamales, a typical Christmas dish in Mexico. Baby Jesus is left in his crib undressed, just like in birth, in the altar created for him in the hostess’s home until the Christmas cycle is over. On February 2nd we go back to the nativity altar, dress him and do everything all over again. Another tradition is on March 19th when we have a big feast and pray the rosary for Saint Joseph, our family saint who is the patron of families. By contrast, I was born and raised here in Denver, Colorado, but traveled to Mexico very often. I went to many Denver Public Schools because my small family of 5 moved a lot. My family was not traditional at all even though we came from the municipality of Mezquitic, Jalisco. Electricity arrived in 1991 but still many towns are without electricity and potable water because it is deep in the Sierra Madre Occidental. I carried heavy buckets of water from the stream up a steep hill twice a day for daily needs when I lived with my grandmother. My husband’s family still grows beans; my family grows corn.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


My husband and I met very young. I was 16 and he was 21. Regardless of our differences in backgrounds, we have an amazing family and almost 23 years of marriage. We have 4 children, daughters Jazmin and Angela and sons, Francisco and Jesus. We love having dinner together (absolutely no technology allowed at the table). We love to go to Durango and every now and then to Jalisco. We enjoy the beach, love baseball, camping, swimming and most of all being with our family. All of my children attended Marie L. Greenwood Academy and all were in/or volunteered in our fabulous literacy program of Each One Teach One thankfully offered here in our school. I enjoy being involved in pretty much anything my family does and even though we’ve lived in the Montbello community since the year 2000, I still enjoy meeting new families and being involved in my community.

La Familia Soriano-Simental La familia lo es todo, nuestra familia viene de diversos orígenes. Mi esposo nació y creció en Francisco I Madero Durango, México. Su enorme familia de 10 siempre ha sido muy apegada y tradicional. Mi parte favorita es cuando en navidad arrullamos al niño Dios mientras cantamos y rezamos Continued on page 18

VOICES FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD - VOCES DEL BARRIO - MONTBELLO FAMILY PORTRAITS Continued from page 17 el rosario y lo pasamos alrededor para darle la oportunidad a todos de adorarlo mientras recibimos aguinaldo de parte de los padrinos. Disfrutamos de tamales un plato típico navideño en México. El niño Dios es dejado en su cuna desvestido así como al nacer en el nacimiento creado para él hasta que el ciclo navideño llega a su fin. Después de que acaba la navidad el 2 de febrero regresamos a su nacimiento lo vestimos y hacemos todo de nuevo. El 19 de marzo también hacemos una gran celebración y rezamos el Rosario para el Señor San José nuestro santo que es el patrono de las familias. Yo nací y crecí en Denver, Colorado pero viajé a México seguido. Asistí a muchas escuelas de Denver Public Schools porque mi familia se mudaba mucho.Mi familia no era tradicional aunque venimos

del municipio de Mezquitic, Jalisco en donde la electricidad llegó en 1991 pero aun hoy dia hay muchas comunidades sin agua potable ni electricidad porque está muy adentro de la Sierra Madre Occidental. De niña cargué cubetas pesadas llenas de agua en mis hombros de subida a la casa de mi abuelita para el uso diario. A diferencia de mi esposo que tuvo estas comodidades. Su familia aun siembra frijoles mientras la mía siembra maíz. Mi esposo y yo nos conocimos muy jóvenes el de 21 y yo de 16. Pero a pesar de nuestras diferentes orígenes tenemos una hermosa familia y casi 23 años de matrimonio. Mi esposo y yo nos conocimos muy jóvenes el de 21 y yo de 16. Tenemos 4 hijos, 2 hijas Jazmin y Angela, y dos hijos Francisco y Jesus. Nos gusta cenar en familia ( sin nada de

tecnología) Nos encanta viajar a México y más a Durango y de vez en cuando a Jalisco. Nos encanta la playa, amamos el beisbol, acampar, nadar y más que nada estar en familia. Todos mis hijos fueron a Marie L Greenwood y todos participaron en el fabuloso programa de literatura que ofrece nuestra escuela de Each One Teach One. Disfruto participar en todo lo que hace mi familia y a pesar de vivir aquí en la comunidad de Montbello desde el 2000 todavía me gusta conocer a nuevas familias e involucrarme en nuestra comunidad.

La Familia Duran-Cruz

By Marina Cruz My name is Marina Cruz and this is the story of my family. We are made up of 8 members: my husband Armando Duran, our daughters, Maria Fernanda, Desiree, Shaila, Zoe, our granddaughter

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


Amanda, and her father Pablo. My husband, Maria Fernanda, and I are originally from Mexico City, formerly known as Tenochtitlán, a place that values the arts in all forms specifically painting, embroidery, and pottery. We are of humble origins. My husband was an automotive mechanic and I was a teacher of early education. We decided to come to the United States in 1999 when Maria Fernanda was 3 years and 5 months old with the hope that she would be treated by medical specialists to see if she was eligible for the cochlear implant since she had profound bilateral hearing loss and is deaf. Although we didn’t have the results we were wishing for her, we decided to stay to offer her better educational opportunities and lifestyle. She finished high school and took a


year of independent life preparation classes at Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind where she met her boyfriend and father of her daughter when she was in her senior year of high school. I have much to thank this country for. Here I formed a big family with the arrival of 3 more daughters and later our granddaughter and her father. In our home my husband and I work to give our family a better life. Our priority is to value our daughters’ individuality, and we consider the love of parents to be the most important thing, and that the children know they can count on us at all times. Our goal is that they are good and happy women. I am involved in various non-profit organizations: to be able to support my immigrant community is one of my passions. My purpose of educating our community is because we do not know our rights. The opportunities that non-profit organizations have for us immigrants are either of personal growth or family - the real change to have a better world is in oneself, learning to be an agent of change. I am supporting the program, The Left Behind Workers Fund (LBWF), that provides direct financial aid to people living in Colorado who have had a loss or reduction of work due to COVID 19 and have been “left

behind” by other support systems, as part of Centro Humanitario De Trabajadores where I work as a connector of the community. My husband is a great man who respects us and loves us as women. Desiree, Shaila, and Zoe have been students at Marie L. Greenwood Academy since first grade. Now Desiree is an intern for DPS Student Voice and Leadership (SVL), a group of youth focused on developing student leaders. We are proud that all of our daughters are trilingual – Spanish, English and Sign Language. We are a traditional Mexican family with roots fortunate to be able to combine the culture and traditions of both countries. We love urban rock music, cumbia sonidera and salsa dance, and Mexican food from all the states of Mexico. We are grateful to this beautiful country that has given us many opportunities.

La Familia Duran-Cruz Mi nombre es Marina Cruz y esta es la historia de mi familia. Los integrantes de mi familia somos 8: mi esposo Armando Duran, mis hijas Maria Fernanda, Desiree, Shaila, Zoe, mi nieta Amanda y Pablo, el novio de Maria Fernanda y papá de mi nieta. Mi esposo, Maria Fernanda y yo somos originarios de la Ciudad de México, anteriormente conocido como Tenochtitlán, un

lugar que valora las artes en todas las formas, específicamente la pintura, el bordado y la cerámica. Somos de origen muy humilde. Mi esposo era mecánico automotriz y yo maestra de educación temprana. Cuando decidimos venir a Estados Unidos en el año 1999 mi hija Maria Fernanda tenía 3 años 5 meses, venimos con la esperanza de que la atendieran especialistas médicos y ver si era elegible para un implante coclear ya que ella tiene Hipoacusia profunda bilateral ósea, ella es sorda. Al ver que no obtuvimos los resultados que deseábamos para nuestra hija decidimos quedarnos aquí, para ofrecerle mejores oportunidades educativas y estilo de vida. Ella terminó su preparatoria y tomó un año de clases para preparación de vida independiente, en la escuela “Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind” fue donde conoció a su novio y papá de su hija Amanda cuando cursaba su último año de preparatoria. Tengo mucho que agradecer a este país aquí. Forme una familia más grande con la llegada de 3 hijas más y después se unió mi nieta y su papá. En mi hogar trabajamos mi esposo y yo para poder darles una vida mejor a nuestra familia. Nuestra prioridad son las individualidades de nuestras hijas, y consideramos que lo más importantes es el amor de sus padres y que sepan que cuentan con nosotros en todo momento, nuestra meta es que sean mujeres de bien y felices. Estoy involucrada en varias organizaciones sin fines de lucro. Para poder apoyar a mi comunidad inmigrante que es una de mis pasiones, mi propósito de educar a nuestra comunidad es por que no conocemos nuestros

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


derechos, las oportunidades que tienen las organizaciones sin fines de lucro para nosotros los inmigrantes ya sea de crecimiento personal o familiar y por qué el verdadero cambio para tener un mejor mundo está en uno mismo aprendiendo a ser un agente de cambio. A causa de la pandemia COVID19 estoy apoyando con el programa de Fondos para Trabajadores Olvidados “The Left Behind Workers Fund (LBWF)” que proporciona ayuda financiera directa por la cantidad a personas que viven en Colorado y que han tenido una pérdida o reducción de empleo debido al COVID-19 y han sido “dejados atrás” por otros sistemas de apoyo, por parte de “Centro Humanitario De Trabajadores” donde trabajó como conectora de comunidad. Mi esposo es un gran hombre que nos ha enseñado a respetarnos y amarnos como mujeres. Desiree, Shaila y Zoe han sido estudiantes de la Academia Marie L. Greenwood desde el primer grado. Actualmente Desiree es pasante de DPS Student Voice and Leadership (SVL), un grupo de jóvenes enfocados en el desarrollo de líderes estudiantiles. Estamos orgullosos de que todas nuestras hijas sean trilingües: español, inglés y lengua de signos. Somos una tradicional familia mexicana con raíces afortunadas de poder combinar la cultura y tradición de ambos países. El tipo de música de nuestra preferencia es el rock urbano, las cumbias y la salsa que nos encanta bailar, y la comida tradicional mexicana de todos estados de México. Estamos agradecidos con este hermoso país que nos ha dado muchas oportunidades. Y


Dear Northeast Denver Innovation Zone and DMLK Communities... We are incredibly excited to announce the submission of our application to the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education (Board) for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College (DMLK) to join the Northeast Denver Innovation Zone (NDIZ). NDIZ is an Innovation Zone currently made up of six DPS innovation schools that operate with increased flexibility to proactively meet and respond to the needs of our students, families, and our staff. Formed in 2018 by experienced educators who had a shared vision of what they most needed to be successful in their schools and classrooms, NDIZ continues to be a collective where all people operate in power, with no need for permission to be brilliant, with freedom to think boldly and to always do the best things for students and one another. NDIZ has created a system that treats our teachers and school leaders as experienced and trusted professionals. We have given them back their time, classrooms, and schools. In NDIZ, Innovation is liberation to determine destiny. That is what we do and with DMLK, we will get much better at it together. By joining NDIZ, DMLK joins a group of schools that are committed to equity as practice. DMLK will add value to and benefit from the work of NDIZ related to equity in our perspectives, policies, and practices. NDIZ’s ongoing RICE framework (Relationships, Instructions, Collectivism, and Engagement) will

strengthen DMLK’s existing efforts to ensure that our schools are places for students to thrive because equity is not an accident but a daily intentional practice. NDIZ is excited about continuing to implement the Know Justice Know Peace Resolution alongside the student-led brilliance of DMLK and diving deeper in all of our schools with the added expertise of DMLK on the Black Excellence Resolution work as well. As a new member of the NDIZ family, DMLK will join our existing innovation schools that serve nearly 5,000 students across Northeast Denver from Five Points to Park Hill to Central Park to Montbello and Green Valley Ranch. DMLK will strengthen our efforts as a zone to ensure a range of excellent education models including early college, expeditionary learning and international baccalaureate, all working together for the good of students. Together, NDIZ and DMLK will be a model for equity and excellence in public education. In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we will harness the power of students, families, and our teammates to be bold drum majors for justice, equality, and equity as we lean in as compassionate global neighbors. We see a better world for our children and it all begins in Northeast Denver! Join us in celebrating this first step and we invite you to journey with us on this process to co-create, co-deliver, and be co-accountable for the students we serve. We appreciate all of you! Innovatively, Vernon Jones Jr. Executive Director/Lead Learner Northeast Denver Innovation Zone Kimberly Grayson, Principal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College

Serving Our Community Through A Culturally-Responsive Lens By Zaneta Evans, LPC and Donna Wilson, PhD and LPC Editor’s Note: Mental Health Center of Denver, a partner in Montbello Solutions Mental Health project, will begin ofoffering telehealth mental health services at the Academy 360 School building in the next few weeks. As COVID restrictions are eased, in-person, culturally-responculturally-responsive mental health services will be available to the comcommunity.

With families adjusting to the new demands or awareness evoked by the novel coronavirus, more are seeking assistance from community mental health centers or a therapist for the first time. Typically, people of color who seek services often obtain help from familiar places such as churches, schools and/or referrals from friends. Often, there is a desire to seek support from those who resemble us, assuming with a sense of familiarity, our struggle will be best understood, or the solutions offered most culturally-appropriate. We know representation matters. We also know that while a client and therapist may look alike it does not mean their paths have been the same. We would like to encourage an open mind as you consider your journey of healing and becoming a healthier you. As clinicians, we recognize the importance of a “good fit” by connecting clients with clinicians that help them heal, thrive, and grow. Understanding that a culturally-responsive lens is a must, we strive to ensure our clinicians, no matter race or place know how to

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


show up and honor the cultural and linguistic needs of the people we serve. We acknowledge our areas of opportunity within our department and have been diligent in working with community partners in our efforts to hire the diverse workforce we need and desire. Nonetheless, as we continue our work to recruit and retain more therapists of color, we also continue to ensure our current workforce has the tools necessary to provide the high quality, culturally-responsive services needed. Some of the services provided by the Healthy Living team from MHCD include a variety of prevention-based groups and trainings to promote health and well-being for all ages. We strive to work in collaboration with community programs and individuals to create classes based on specific needs. Topics range from the Eight Dimensions of Wellness to Social & Emotional Support to Healthy Boundaries & Relationships. As African American women leaders at Mental Health Center of Denver and members of the community, we are both excited for the strides made in partnership with other organizations in Montbello to increase the mental health focus and access. We hear you and we are excited about the work that we are doing and for what is to come!Y Editor’s note: Zaneta Evans, LPC is the Healthy Living proprogram Manager - Child and Family at the Mental Health Center of Denver. Donna WilWilson, PhD, LPC is the Director of Operations and Community Engagement – Child and Family at Mental Health Center of Denver.


Al Servicio De Nuestra Comunidad A Través De Una Lente Culturalmente Responsable Por Zaneta Evans, LPC y Donna Wilson, PhD y LPC Traducido por Marta Welch Nota del Editor: El Centro de Salud Mental de Denver, un socio del Proyecto de SoluSoluciones de Salud Mental de Montbello, comenzará a ofrecer servicios de salud mental de telesalud en el ediedificio escolar de Academy 360 en las próximas semanas. A medida que se flexibilicen las restricciones COVID, los serviservicios de salud mental en perpersona y culturalmente sensibles estarán disponibles para la comunidad.

Con las familias adaptándose a las nuevas demandas o la conciencia evocada por el Zaneta Evans nuevo coronaDonna Wilson virus, son más las que buscan ayuda de los centros comunitarios de salud mental o de un terapeuta por primera vez. Por lo general, las personas de color que buscan servicios a menudo obtienen ayuda de lugares familiares como iglesias, escuelas y / o referencias de amigos. A menudo, existe el deseo de buscar el apoyo de aquellos que se parecen a nosotros, asumiendo con un sentido de familiaridad, nuestra lucha se entenderá mejor, o se ofrecerán las soluciones más apropiadas culturalmente. Sabemos que la representación importa. También sabemos que si bien un

cliente y un terapeuta pueden parecerse, no significa que sus caminos hayan sido los mismos. Nos gustaría fomentar una mente abierta al considerar su viaje de sanación y convertirse en una persona más saludable. Como médicos, reconocemos la importancia de una “buena opción” al conectar a los clientes con los médicos que los ayudan a sanar, prosperar y crecer. Al comprender que una lente culturalmente sensible es imprescindible, nos esforzamos por garantizar que nuestros médicos, sin importar la raza o el lugar, sepan cómo presentarse y honrar las necesidades culturales y lingüísticas de las personas a las que servimos. Reconocemos nuestras áreas de oportunidad dentro de nuestro departamento y hemos sido diligentes al trabajar con socios de la comunidad en nuestros esfuerzos por contratar la fuerza laboral diversa que necesitamos y deseamos. No obstante, a medida que continuamos nuestro trabajo para reclutar y retener a más terapeutas de color, también continuamos asegurándonos de que nuestra fuerza laboral actual tenga las herramientas necesarias para brindar los servicios de alta calidad y culturalmente receptivos necesarios. Algunos de los servicios proporcionados por el equipo de Vida Saludable de MHCD incluyen una variedad de grupos de prevención y capacitaciones para promover la salud y el bienestar de todas las edades. Nos esforzamos por trabajar en colaboración con programas comunitarios e individuos para crear clases basadas en necesidades específicas. Los temas van desde las Ocho Dimensiones del Bienestar

hasta el Apoyo Social y Emocional a los Límites y Relaciones Saludables. Como mujeres líderes AfroAmericanas en el Centro de Salud Mental de Denver y miembros de la comunidad, ambas estamos entusiasmadas por los avances logrados en asociación con otras organizaciones en Montbello para aumentar el enfoque y el acceso a la salud mental. ¡Te escuchamos y estamos emocionados por el trabajo que estamos haciendo y por lo que está por venir!Y Nota del Editor: Zaneta Evans, LPC es la Gerente del ProPrograma de Vida Saludable Niños y Familias en el Centro de Salud Mental de Denver. Donna Wilson, PhD, LPC es la Directora de Operaciones y Participación Comunitaria Niños y Familias en el Centro de Salud Mental de Denver.

The Colors That Brought Peace

never experienced – A world of tranquility. I was drowning in emotional and physical agony over the untimely death of my younger brother. His life ended in a cold, dark parking lot of an apartment building in Aurora, CO September 25th 2012. Jonathan Petty was his name – say his name. The details of his murder are still vague, and his case goes unsolved to this day. That was the day my life changed forever. Grief. My life was consumed by grief. People talk about the stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. However, we rarely talk about what those stages look like for people -it varies. We all experience grief in different ways. My grief became a battlefield. Every day was a fight to find a way to make sense of what was happening in my life – what happened to my

Self Portrait

By LaToya Petty, Program Manager Montbello Solutions Mental Health Project Globs of paint filled the canvas with no purpose but to ease my mind from the crippling emotional pain I was experiencing. Blue, Red, Yellow gave me an escape to a world I had

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


brother. Inside, I was screaming for relief of the recurring thoughts about his murder. Outside, I was trying to maintain the same lifestyle and schedule as before. Physically I was breaking down. My body became weak – I could barely Continued on page 22


get up each morning without experiencing physical pain in my joints and muscles. Emotionally I would go to sleep every night with tears in my eyes and wake up the same way – was I even sleeping? I would watch my family members as they went through their stages. Why did it seem so much easier for them? A good friend of mine reached out – an artist. She told me to start painting. I didn’t have one artistic bone in my body; never fancied myself as much of a creative person when it came to art. Still, I was willing to do anything to help ease the pain. The grief support groups I attended were helpful, but my mind was stuck. I was reliving that day- those circumstances - every waking moment of each day. So, I went to an arts and crafts store and bought a canvas, some cheap paint and a few brushes. Blue, Red, Yellow smeared onto the canvas and they became Orange, Green, and Violet. I remember thinking about TV artist, Bob Ross, and how he made it look so easy – happy trees, majestic mountains, lakes and oceans, bushes and flowers. Let’s just say it’s not easy. Globs of paint were what I was able to create and so I painted – and painted – and painted. Day after day, I experimented and just allowed

myself to think about those colors – Blue, Red, and Yellow. Something amazing happened while I painted. Not once did I think about my brother’s murder. When I painted, my mind was finally able to find peace. I was finally able to just breathe and rest. I was able to start functioning in the world again. Slowly my body got stronger – I would walk with my community partners. My emotional pain eased – I was able to sleep at night. I became focused – I had a new mission in life. My mission became to find ways to address gang violence, traumatic experiences and mental health in communities of color. One of the biggest barriers I faced was finding culturally relevant clinical help for my mental health. It became overwhelmingly clear that the services were not as accessible as they should be. I quickly realized there are many people struggling with how to cope with their traumatic experiences and grief as well. As the Mental Health Grant Manager for the Montbello Organizing Committee, I’ve found myself in a unique and rare opportunity to present a holistic approach to mental health in the community. Through our partners, we are offering group/family sessions and individual clinical support for the community and service providers. Academy 360, Struggle of Love Foundation, Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD), Families Against Violent Acts (FAVA), Steps to Success and an array of therapists that are culturally-relevant and speak multiple languages have come together to offer these services. Find your Peace.Y

Legends By Darrell Anderson, Artist I was a late bloomer when I started playing this wonderful game called golf. I had no idea at the time there were similarities with my art and golf. Over time, I understood that complexity equals simplicity if one is pursuing a successful outcome. In traveling the world, and laying out a foundation for my career in art, there was never an empty conversation about golf no matter what country I was in. Over time, I wanted to know about the African American Legends of golf who were playing this game long before I became aware and interested. Inspired to make an artistic statement, this opportunity presented itself. There was Pete Brown, the first to win a PGA Tour event. Renee Powell was the second African American woman to play on the LPGA Tour, Althea Gibson being the first. Rene resides at Clearview Golf Club-built, owned and operated by Black people. Then there was Charlie Sifford, the first to play on the PGA Tour.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – March/April 2021


I was blessed to meet them ALL and create a work of art entitled “Legends”. African Americans have a strong history with the game of golf and I wanted to encourage more of our youth to get involved with this game I love. How can I help? There are limited editions of “Legends” valued at $250. I want to raise money for First Tee – Green Valley Ranch. The price is $200 with half the proceeds going to the program. I want to engage more of my young culture to experience the game of golf and all it has to offer. It is never too late to enjoy artistic creativity when swinging a golf club! Thank you for your support of First Tee. Y Editor’s Note: Readers can support art and youth in the First Tee program through the purchase of a signed limited edition of “Legends”. These can be purchased at Green Valley Ranch Golf Course Pro Shop at 4900 Himalaya Rd, Denver, CO 80249. First Tee exexists to enable kids to build the strength of character that emempowers them through a lifelifetime of new challenges. 2021 registration for children and youth ages 5 – 18 years opens March 1 and can be comcompleted at https://www.first ster/. ster/.

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