Sep 08, 2017
We are wrapping up our It’s Your City initiative in “Fine” District 9. This summer our office has walked over 10 neighborhoods in our district; knocked on over 1,000 doors; engaged 100’s of individuals on social media; and sent out over 5,000 post cards. Through this initiative we have also received dozens of emails through our website ranging from policy suggestions to maintenance requests. We listened and learned, and will be digesting this content at our staff retreat this fall.
We also took a survey that was open for 7 days, and had 226 responses from residents from 15 neighborhoods within the Fine District 9. Below are some of their answers:
What’s the most important issue facing your neighborhood?
• Infrastructure – 32%
• Criminal Justice Reform – 4%
• Affordable Housing – 32%
• Workforce Training – 2%
• I-70 Viaduct – 9%
We still want to hear from you, so pleast your voice be heard by logging onto www.itsyourcitydistrict9.com and sharing your thoughts with us. This has inspired me so much that I will continue to walk throughout the district this fall.
City Council President Albus Brooks
We have made it a goal to celebrate diverse communities in the "fine" District 9 for it is one of the key things that makes a community beautiful—the celebration and acceptance of one’s differences. To highlight some of the wonderful aspects of our community, we will be highlighting organizations and community members who promote and contribute to this very important value in our newsletter each month.
This month, we are highlighting Make a Chess Move (MACM) which provides chess lessons to students ages 10-24 in various schools, after school programs and detention centers. The co-founders, Mr. Phillip Douglas and Mr. Sir Martin, came up with the idea while having conversations during a game of chess and reflecting on how the strategies in chess can also relate and be applied to strategies in life. Their mission is to build a just society by developing tenacious learners, compassionate leaders, and ethnically-driven critical thinkers.
For additional information about MACM, check out their Facebook Page or their website.
Q. What are some of challenges/obstacles you’ve had to overcomes to bring your vision to fruition and how did you overcome them?
A. I credit my friend and co-founder, Mr. Phillip Douglas, for laying the foundational ground work of MACM. Like any organization, we have experienced financial challenges.
In addition, we sometimes have challenges with time and attendance issues with the students. I had issues with time and attendance in the past when I was a student. The way I improved was with co-founder Phil questioning my thinking. [Why was I late?]
Instead of reprimanding students for being late the goal is to challenge students on how they are thinking to help them understand and rationalize why they’re late. We never tell students what to do and always remind the students that they have a choice.
Q. What motivates you to do this work?
A. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but struggled with identifying as a leader, so being a person that can show us a different way is what motivates me. I feel like I’m different than a lot of the people I was involved with when I was in a gang. After the death of my cousin, I changed my perspective. I felt like after he passed, I had to do something different. The reason why I think different is to show the black community how powerful we truly are and that we can create change if we desire to. I just want to be able to lead by example. In the future, I would like to add several more projects under MACM. I would say leading by example and being an inspiration to others is what motivates me the most.
Q. If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
A. I would tell him to breathe. I learned how to breathe by practicing Tai Chi, which also has taught me how to become my best self. Scientifically, when you don’t breathe the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen, which causes you to make incorrect decisions. Tai Chi has taught me how to breathe deeply through stress or stressful situations rather than just reacting to a certain feeling. I feel strongly that had I taken the time to breathe [in the past], I would have made different choices and been able to remain a lot calmer under pressure.
Q. What do enjoy most about living in Denver?
A. This is home for me, so I loved it from the beginning. I like that it’s a city where you can do anything at any time of day. There are lots of parks and the mountains are not far if you want to get away from the city. I have mixed feelings about the exponential growth we are experiencing, but feel this is an opportunity to do something different in Denver.
If you or someone you know is impacting our community in a positive way, please send submissions to Evelyn Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line please put “D9 Community Member Spotlight Nomination” in order to be considered for our monthly newsletter edition.