New Year! New Beginning! The Denver Urban Spectrum salutes the upcoming year in celebration of the birthday of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was remembered as an advocate for change, and could not be more influential as the uprising, nation – wide movement led to marches, die-ins, student walkouts, and general protest to the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The fresh start to the New Year issue also marked the ninth year of the Asfaw Family Foundation International’s Arches of Hope Bicycle Give – A –Way and the seventh year for the Aim High Scholarship Program. Both of which, the foundation help and gives out bikes and scholarships to deserving youth in the community. One of DUS’ very own also receives recognition. Publisher and art director, Rosalind “Bee” Harris is honored by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) as one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver. Harris explains that although being a woman of color and running a business and a publication can become a very complicated maze of obstacles, she says, “Whenever I get a chance I like to pass those leadership skills on to the next generation, so when their opportunity to lead comes along, they’ll be ready.”
DUS joins the nation in celebrating Black History Month and the increasing number of achievements by African Americans in the United States. The DUS cover story by contributing writer, Charles Emmons, profiles former Denver Broncos wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl Champion, Rod Smith, on how he has re-invented his life after football. Smith explains his journey and the lessons he has learned in football and in business. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado announces its new president and CEO, Lauren Y. Casteel, the first person to lead three separate foundations in Colorado. This issue highlights 15 recipients of the Denver Urban Spectrum’s annual African Americans Who Make a Difference awards, presented at the Me & The Dream Program and Exhibit held at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in February. This issue also celebrates the life of Dr. Robbie Bean, a longtime educator who passed in January.
For Women’s History Month, the DUS cover story by Angelia D. McGowan features Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith on her pioneering spirit. The native of Cameroon became the first Black flight attendant in the world when she took flight in the 1950s. The Denver Urban Spectrum also acknowledges “Me and The Dream” student essay winners who had submitted essays about potential inventions and how they could impact the world today and overtime. This issue also celebrates the 50-year anniversary of the Hope Center, led by president and CEO Geri Grimes. A column by Theo J. Wilson, entitled “Buy Black or Die” addressed entrepreneurship in the African American community.
This month the Denver Urban Spectrum celebrates its 28th anniversary with the launch of a new mobile app allowing readers access to the Denver Urban Spectrum’s website and publications on their mobile devices. This issue, featuring guest managing editor Chandra Thomas-Whitfield, also features a review on Stevie Wonder, who was in Denver with his “Songs in the Key of Life” tour as well as a preview of Motown the Musical. An article by Annette Fuller, shared revelations by author and activists Dr. Howard Fuller in his book, entitled “No Struggle, No Progress.” The DUS also publishes a “Conversation with Rep. Diana DeGette” regarding health and wellness issues of concern in the African American community.
In this issue, veteran journalist and documentarian Tamara Banks talks about her eighth trip to South Sudan, located in Central Africa and having “The Talk” with the youth. This cover piece demonstrates how an award – winning journalist is using her voice to make a difference in her choice to have intimate conversations about HIV awareness and human rights. Angelia D. McGowan’s piece “Bringing Back the Arts Initiative Goes” focuses on an event that brought cast members of Motown The Musical together with 50 middle school students where they learned about the relevance of legendary music. This month’s issue welcomes back columnist Hasira Ashemu, who wrote a piece that addressed Jay Z’s level of social responsibility, pointed out by actor and activist, Harry Belafonte.
Commemorating Black Music Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum gets up close and personal with singer Hazel Miller. The cover story profiles the performer of more than 40 years on her life with music and her unique ability to make sure every person in the audience is enjoying their time. This issue also shines the spotlight on bass player, Vernon Barbary, and his business Pockit that supports local musicians around the country. This month’s issue is dedicated to the memory of civic leader, Josephine M. Mann, musician and educator George Morrison, Jr., music promoter and rodeo producer Lu Vason, and Tuskegee Airman John Mosley. Their obituaries are included in the issue.
Africa comes to Aurora! Well …kind of. Our cover story, “Africa Meets Aurora Through Afrikmall” by Charles Emmons details the potential for this new store to bringing an economic and cultural boost to Aurora, Colorado. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance presents the 21st Annual International Summer Dance Institute. The institute provides expert instruction in various techniques of jazz, ballet, hip- hop, modern, African and cultural dance. Theo E.J. Wilson writes about the frustration and struggle for African Americans in his article “Nobody is Coming to Save Black People!” Also in this month’s issue, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma Webb, were honored for their political and love story in a one-night play at Curious Theatre.
The Denver Urban Spectrum publishes the inaugural address that Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s delivered at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. He addressed the city’s accomplishments during his first term and described his goals on encouraging the city to prosper and also helping the people of Denver heading into his second term. This month’s issue also features a piece on Stephanie O’Malley, the city’s executive director of Denver, about her commitment to make informed decisions. There is also a story about “be well,” an initiative of the Stapleton Foundation to create healthy sustainable urban communities. The Kempe Center was highlighted for its first “back to school” event that offered free services including haircuts to 40 girls and boys at the Mykal Grant Salon. Angelle C. Fouther shared with readers the development progress and needs for one of Denver’s culturally – rich neighborhoods, in her article “Montbello, a Neighborhood Rising Froom the Roots Up.” This issue also highlights the upcoming national human trafficking conference hosted in Colorado by the Chosen Advocates Association.
The cover story for this issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum sees publisher, Rosalind J. Harris reconnecting with family and friends on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In her coverage, she takes our readers down memory lane as she chronicles her trip in support of the Beacon of Hope for African Child. This month’s issue recognizes the Denver Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and award recipients for its upcoming Whitney M. Young Jr. Annual Gala. This issue also recognizes recipients of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists annual media awards and banquet, including photographer Lorenzo Dawkins, Tamara Banks and Charles Emmons, all who received recognition for their work published in the Denver Urban Spectrum. Angelia D. McGowan, in her piece on playwright Kenneth Grimes, shares the journey it took for Uncle Jed’s Barbershop to make it from the popular book to the stage.
Tyler Perry’s First Time in Denver! And it definitely won’t be his last! Thanks to Charles Emmons, the cover story honors Perry on his works and provides insight on how he has become a success today and the challenges he has faced in his journey as a writer, producer, actor, storyteller, director and philanthropist. “Five Points Icon Zona Moore Celebrates 90 Well Lived Years” by Charlene Porter captures Moore as she prepares to celebrate her 90th birthday and her description for her formula for success. This issue features a piece on Shades of Blue, Inc., and its efforts to bring Black astronauts to Denver for a historic reunion as well as to recognized Nichelle Nichols for her role in helping NASA to recruit minority astronauts.
This month’s cover story by Angelle Fouther highlights the “Be Beautiful, Be Yourself” fashion show that raised funds and awareness for those with Down syndrome. This year’s event welcomed a host of Hollywood stars including musical icon and actor, Jamie Fox along with Terrence Howard, star of the FOX TV series, “Empire.” Also brought to light, is veteran TV journalist, Soledad O’ Brien on her work about race relations in America and encouraging young girls to pursue their passion. Kris Colley II penned two articles for this issue of key relevance for the African American community. His article, “The Race to Save Wyatt Academy: talks about Wyatt Academy and the continuation of the school. His piece on the Dahlia Campus for Health and Wellbeing previews some of the services that will be offered at the campus, slated to open this month in a neighborhood searching to be revitalized.
This month’s issue provides a highlight of this past year’s articles and columns as well as current events, including the passing of Paul Stewart, founder of the Black American West Museum. Kris Colley II joins other local journalists of color for a conversation with Karen Finney, Hillary Clinton’s strategic communications adviser and senior spokesperson. Ending out the year, DUS shared several articles from Peace Voice contributors. PeaceVoice is a project of the Oregon Peace Institute and is an idea whose time has come. PeaceVoice is devoted to changing U.S. national conversation about the possibilities of peace and the inadvisability of war. In light of the current state of America and around the world, and with a focus on hope and peace, it was a perfect way to close out the year.