WARNING! The content in this entry may be “Too Black” to be considered…This topic is nothing to take lightly. I want to “do it Justice”, so to speak, for all of the people I have personally known and all of the people who paved the way so that I could live as Freely as I can. On this topic of Black Business/Black Creators, I am thankful to know of someone on the most personal Level. It is my Mom. One of my earliest memories of being “Black” was being told as a 6 year old by my summer camp leader’s daughter that her Mom “doesn’t like Black people”. When I told my Mom, she immediately chose to REMOVE me from that day camp. This single choice is one of MANY ways that my Mom has EXEMPLIFIED a standard of “Black”-ness for me and for our Local Community as a whole. Though she isn’t always the “Leader” or person in charge, she has always willingly played a role in the progress of Black Community and communities of color. Through involvement in activism, education, and community service, my Mom has been a part of A Widely Unknown Renaissance of African Traditions and Historically Black Communities in Denver, Colorado for the Last 20 plus years —pulling me alongside her. Her involvement in our Local Community is not limited to the Black community, but includes participation in the Local Native American Communities and Organizations, Asian American Communities, Chicano Communities, African Communities, and Arts Community, with passion for All Cultures. It is not widely known that Colorado has Historic Neighborhoods designated to all of these groups of people as a result of tragedies such as The Sand Creek Massacre inflicted upon the Cheyenne and Arapaho people indigenous to this land —whose descendants in addition to other indigenous people in this community RADICALLY FOUGHT in the streets and in the court rooms like Warriors to change “Columbus Day” into “Indigenous People’s Day”—, the forced internment of Japanese people into local concentration camps during World War 2 with survivors like Marge Taniwaki who preach PEACE AND LOVE in the face of hatred, and the rich History of Chicanos and the Chicano Movement involving Colorado Native Corky Gonzales who fought for economic justice for Mexican Americans. Exposure to the knowledge and awareness of all of these movements would not have been possible for me without the curation of my Mom. Her ability to honor the importance of every Culture is unparalleled, and it is demonstrated in her way of teaching various ethnic and socio- economic demographics as a public school teacher/artist/ and entrepreneur while embodying diversity and inclusion in the most progressive way. Her ability to empathize with the oppression and discrimination of others comes from a deep and thorough “innerstanding” of our own experience as Black People and the systems that enforce and reinforce Oppression onto us. There are MANY MANY MANY LEGENDS here in Colorado—Dead and Alive—who have played a MASSIVE ROLE in preserving the Historic Neighborhoods and advocating for the rights of those communities, and they are not names that you hear on the television. Rather, their Legacy is almost forgotten. Their stories are almost erased by GENTRIFICATION and can only survive by the remembrance of what has happened here. Of all of the Historic Neighborhoods, FIVE POINTS—DENVER—, has been one of the Most Progressive Neighborhoods in America when it comes to “Black Business” and Black Community as a whole. Not only was it “Black” in its cuisine, and music, and education… but it was also AFRICAN in its way of celebrating our roots and culture that was stripped from us. By honoring community members who have passed such as Bibi Opalanga, Baba Ishange, Baba Chuck, Baba Joda, and Dr. Vincent Harding, we remember their community gatherings that UNIFIED Black People (and White People and All people of color) through Art, Storytelling, Music, and African Drum and Dance. These people are only a few of the people who have passed on having devoted their lives to SOCIAL JUSTICE and also to developing a higher standard of Life for those who are discriminated against. Many people are still alive, too, who have founded organizations like Shadow Theatre -a Black Lead Theatre Company-, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance -a Black Lead World Renowned Dance School and Company that provides rigorous dance training in techniques from all around the world-, Veterans of Hope Project -an organization that celebrates CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE AND FORMS OF ACTIVISM TOWARDS ESTABLISHING HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR ALL PEOPLE Founded by Dr. Vincent Harding who was a colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, The Institute of Global Scholarship (IGS) -a Black Lead Elementary school devoted to teaching And empowering Black Youth to excell to the fullest extent of success-, Five Point Jazz Festival, Juneteenth Festival -celebrating the Historic day that enslaved Black people discovered that they’d been legally freed-, Black Arts Festival -an annual Festival that brings together Hundreds of Musicians, performance groups, vendors of African and African American Art and artifacts celebrating the Black Aesthetic and bringing together Thousands of people from all over the World, the Pan African Film Festival, The National Brotherhood of Skiers -a Black Ski organization that debunks the stereotypes that Black people can’t ski-, and the list REALLY DOES GO ON AND ON! My Mom has had heavy involvement in event planning and resource provisions for many of these organizations and has inspired me to have active positions in these community spaces throughout my Life. Most notably, we also played a role in The Denver Kwanzaa committee by helping to organize the week of celebration of the 7 Day Holiday by creating the itinerary for all of the various events and commemorations of honor that take place all around the Downtown Denver Area. The remnants of these Black Historic efforts dating as far back as 1910 and include a RICH HISTORY of Black Scientists, Doctors, Teachers, Musicians, Artists, and Architects -whose buildings in Sakura Square and elsewhere still stand- are being demolished or cannot afford to remain standing and functioning as a resource to the Black community here that is STILL STRUGGLING with academic equality, combating food deserts, and acquiring community resources and safe spaces. These things happen to all of the communities of Color where a facility is no longer available for use due to rent stipulations, or lack of funds, etc…. for example CHAC (Chicano Humanities and Arts Council) losing their original Location that they’d occupied for years because of the pressing temptation of Gentrification and the Colonial Dollars that come with it. The Moral of this story, mostly, is that I want to pay homage to the Role that My Mom has played in my own Life and the way that I view Activism as a means towards establishing Social Justice for All, what it means to advocate for Black People, and how it is important to teach and acknowledge the truth of the History our people. What I admire MOST of all of the aforementioned people is their RELENTLESS SUPPORT OF “BLACK”NESS (/Culture) in the form of affirming our aesthetics, or standard of beauty, our worth, our intelligence, and our excellence, WITHOUT SUBSCRIBING TO THE INDOCTRINATIONS OF SLAVERY(/Colonialism). This refusal and rejection of deeply engrained ideologies forced upon us is Radical in the sense that it has cost lives. It has been the demise of many Great Black Leaders, it’s ability to empower our communities has sparked racist hatred that burned the Tulsa Historically “Black Business” district to the ground, and assassinated Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, and contemporary advocates of equality like Marielle Franco. On a National Scale, we have witnessed senseless murder after senseless murder of Black People and the constant battle with establishing equal worth here in America. I write this today because I Believe that all of the progress made in our Local Community has the power and ability to SAVE LIVES, BOOST OUR CONFIDENCE AND MORALE AS A PEOPLE, EDUCATE OUR YOUTH, EMPOWER, and LIBERATE our people who are still facing oppression and combatting the reality that we could be innocent humans MURDERED in the streets without any consequences for the murderers. The names of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, George Floyd, Breona Taylor, and our Aurora Colorado Angel Elijah McClain, ARE INDICATIVE OF THIS HARSH REALITY WE FACE TODAY. So here’s a little History.