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Black Lives

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After another death of a black male at the hands of a police office in Ferguson, MO., African Americans everywhere reacted with mixed feelings. Peace, rage, protests and riots ensued because of Brown’s death and soon the hashtag came on the Internet. Black lives matter. People showed support and hate using the hashtag but the message was portrayed as i…

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

After another death of a black male at the hands of a police office in Ferguson, MO., African Americans everywhere reacted with mixed feelings. Peace, rage, protests and riots ensued because of Brown’s death and soon the hashtag came on the Internet.
Black lives matter.
People showed support and hate using the hashtag but the message was portrayed as it needed to be. Our lives are as important as any other race yet it doesn’t always seem that way. Senseless deaths and wrongful incarcerations occur far too often and we’re often the victims. So when will the neglect and hate end? Better yet, when will we, African Americans, put an end to it?
The deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Brown, Trayvon Martin were unjust, ridiculous and those individuals were not given the justice they deserve. But why the public uproar over just those four?
Thousands of African American kids, teens and adults are killed each year and nothing is made of it. No protests, no rallies, no Facebook or Twitter post, no big media ordeal. Just families lowering a loved one six-feet under with no afterthought by anyone on the outside.
The aforementioned victims deserve their attention in the media. But how come the stories of thousands of others go unheard? Because we let it.
Social media can be used as a tool to help stop the slayings of black-on-black crimes, gang related violence and other issues we face. Various opportunities per year are squandered because we fail to utilize social media properly.  It’s used to spread hate, ignorance and misinformation during the times of importance.
The perception of our race is what is online, unfortunately. World Star Hip Hop and random fan pages showing fights, violence and us degrading ourselves is how society see us. And that blame goes to whomever hits share or continues the trend of diminishing our image.
Illustrating our achievements – graduation from college, starting a career with a prestigious company, paying off student debts – should matter more than sitting in line for a pair of Jordan’s.
Our perspective of what’s significant in our culture must change. Too much stock goes toward material and not concrete items. Shoes, clothing and popularity on Instagram and Twitter all hold more value than actual vital information. We need to focus on educating ourselves and quit tearing down those in our culture who chose to do so.
The discouraging thing about being black nowadays is that even if we are intelligent or have some sort of unique talent it is rare that it’ll be seen.
Often times we are criticize and castrated(def check) for liking things that aren’t “typical” of our culture. If an African-American has the potential to be magnificent with an instrument will often say discouraging things. “Man nobody plays that, no one will listen to your music. What’s type of black person does things like that?”
We hold oursel…
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Let’s Talk About It: Pueblo Murals

Once viewed as vandalism, street art has become the dominant voice of art in Pueblo.

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Look down virtually any of the alleyways in the East side and Bessemer areas of Pueblo and at various locations downtown and in the business district, and you can find some form of street art. Pueblo is regarded nationally as a street art capital, and it’s no secret why. For one, Pueblo is home to many members of the high-profile Creatures Crew – a muralist/graffiti artists group that host collaborators and fellow artists from around the country. You can find some of their work gracing the walls behind The Klamm Shell in Bessemer, or the alleyway outside of Shamrock Brewing Co.

In 2015, local muralist Mathew Taylor hosted The High Desert Mural Fest here in Pueblo. And along the Arkansas River levee used to be the longest mural in the world as officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records. The mural ran for three miles along the levee up until around four years ago, when the City of Pueblo announced that a nearly $15 million construction project to address repairs to the levee would mean the destruction of the beloved mural that had been around since the 1970s. Efforts were made to preserve parts of the mural, but it ceases to maintain its world-record status.

Other recognizable murals in Pueblo include a large brown bear surrounded by flowers in the Central Plaza area (painted by Taylor and co artist Michael Strescino), the famous faces depicted outside the Pirate’s Cove, a horse stuck in a tree down on Main Street (that was actually commissioned by the city to commemorate the flood of 1921) and many others ranging from simple to more abstract designs. Some of these designs cross into graffiti territory, but retain an obvious component of artistry that keeps people of the community and city officials from calling for their removal.

Therein lies a point of debate surrounding the street art movement in Pueblo. When is street art considered vandalism? Where do we draw the line between approved artistic expression and illegal tagging?

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

Look down virtually any of the alleyways in the East side and Bessemer areas of Pueblo and at various locations downtown and in the business district, and you can find some form of street art. Pueblo is regarded nationally as a street art capital, and it’s no secret why. For one, Pueblo is home to many members of the high-profile Creatures Crew – a muralist/graffiti artists group that host collaborators and fellow artists from around the country. You can find some of their work gracing the walls behind The Klamm Shell in Bessemer, or the alleyway outside of Shamrock Brewing Co.
In 2015, local muralist Mathew Taylor hosted The High Desert Mural Fest here in Pueblo. And along the Arkansas River levee used to be the longest mural in the world as officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records. The mural ran for three miles along the levee up until around four years ago, when the City of Pueblo announced that a nearly $15 million construction project to address repairs to the levee would mean the destruction of the beloved mural that had been around since the 1970s. Efforts were made to preserve parts of the mural, but it ceases to maintain its world-record status.
Other recognizable murals in Pueblo include a large brown bear surrounded by flowers in the Central Plaza area (painted by Taylor and co artist Michael Strescino), the famous faces depicted outside the Pirate’s Cove, a horse stuck in a tree down on Main Street (that was actually commissioned by the city to commemorate the flood of 1921) and many others ranging from simple to more abstract designs. Some of these designs cross into graffiti territory, but retain an obvious component of artistry that keeps people of the community and city officials from calling for their removal.
Therein lies a point of debate surrounding the street art movement in Pueblo. When is street art considered vandalism? Where do we draw the line between approved artistic expression and illegal tagging?

Artist Mathew Taylor gives a guided talk in front of one of his murals during a 2018 Pueblo Mural Tour. (Photo: Ashley Lowe for PULP)


Taylor is firm in his belief that legal graffiti art murals deter the practice of illegal graffiti tagging. In his perspective, the artistic drive that goes into composing a mural commands a certain degree of respect. Tagging for the sake of staking a territorial claim is distinguishably less driven by artistic vision and marked by its hurried or moreover careless appearance. Thus completed murals tend not to be vandalized by gang-related tagging in his experience. In t…
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Hostility and hucksterism runs rampant in Pueblo and it is choking our city

What kind of city do we have when leaders act like bickering indignants and Pueblo Chieftain joins in with the politicians to attack things it doesn’t like?

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It’s pretty clear when a group of city officials all congratulate themselves after killing a baseball hotel deal that maybe we should rethink who the hucksters are around here — the developers or the people who deal with the developers.

I don’t think Jeff Katofsky, the owner of the Orem Owlz, a minor league baseball team, and hotel developer will look back at Pueblo and think too much of it. But what Pueblo saw was a city and county that couldn’t work together. A city intent on killing the project because its own pet projects wouldn’t have been prioritized. A newspaper that went on the attack because — well, no one is quite sure why the Chieftain attacked the developer and helped to kill the project. And then a room of 35 people, mostly candidates for mayor, saw Pueblo City Council congratulate itself after it was known the project was dead for good.

Pueblo lost big on the baseball deal, but not only because it lost a minor league team. It was estimated the team may have only pulled in a 1,000 or so people a night when the Pueblo Owlz played baseball. Honestly, what else on the Riverwalk attracts about a 1,000 people during random Thursday nights in the Pueblo summer?

And with the Pueblo Convention Center expansion coming online the city will be in even more need for hotels and nighttime activities.

A baseball stadium doesn’t solve that equation, but having baseball, festivals, farmers’ markets and large scale concerts do offer more to visitors than just walking in circles around the Riverwalk.

But Pueblo didn’t simply lose development; we were finally shown the true character of ourselves who claim everyone who wants to build in Pueblo is a huckster. Maybe it’s we who have the problem.

How does a city that wants to grow, a city that has amenities beginning to return to their pre-recession goals, go on the offensive to push out new ideas?

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

It’s pretty clear when a group of city officials all congratulate themselves after killing a baseball hotel deal that maybe we should rethink who the hucksters are around here — the developers or the people who deal with the developers. I don’t think Jeff Katofsky, the owner of the Orem Owlz, a minor league baseball team, and hotel developer will look back at Pueblo and think too much of it. But what Pueblo saw was a city and county that couldn’t work together. A city intent on killing the project because its own pet projects wouldn’t have been prioritized. A newspaper that went on the attack because — well, no one is quite sure why the Gatehouse Chieftain attacked the developer and helped to kill the project. And then a room of 35 people, mostly candidates for mayor, saw Pueblo City Council congratulate itself after it was known the project was dead for good. Pueblo lost big on the baseball deal, but not only because it lost a minor league team. It was estimated the team may have only pulled in a 1,000 or so people a night when the Pueblo Owlz played baseball. Honestly, what else on the Riverwalk attracts about a 1,000 people during random Thursday nights in the Pueblo summer?And with the Pueblo Convention Center expansion coming online the city will be in even more need for hotels and nighttime activities. A baseball stadium doesn’t solve that equation, but having baseball, festivals, farmers’ markets and large scale concerts do offer more to visitors than just walking in circles around the Riverwalk. But Pueblo didn’t simply lose development; we were finally shown the true character of ourselves who claim everyone who wants to build in Pueblo is a huckster. Maybe it’s we who have the problem. How does a city that wants to grow, a city that has amenities beginning to return to their pre-recession goals, go on the offensive to push out new ideas?Nothing about the opposition made much sense. With the Owlz moving to Pueblo, you had a legitimate baseball organization wanting to move to Pueblo. There was a developer and attorney that wanted to build hotels with retail space to complement the stadium. And with the Pueblo Convention Center expansion coming online, with a rather static Riverwalk at present at least in terms of land development, there was a project that could have spurred a boom in Pueblo’s historic district. The opposition led by Pueblo City Council President Chris Nicoll and Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz made it clear that they believed the project would put Pueblo County into deeper debt, kill county jobs, steal the money from other projects and break Colorado’s TABOR laws. Let’s say this was the case, that there was no way this project was ever going to get off the ground and that it was little more than a huckster’s sham. And that Commissioners Sal Pace, Terry Hart and Pueblo County Economic Development Leader Chris Markusson bought into the scheme. Even if you buy this position, it doesn’t explain why the anti-baseball denizens would want to portray …
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Pull – Don’t Pray – for Pueblo: Yard-sign activism must be met with bootstrap action 

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Maneuvering the pickup over the dirt road so rutted and deeply cratered that our heads bounced dangerously close to the cab’s ceiling, Sal Katz, a retired army combat veteran, laughed. “Just a little bumpy,” he said. “But let’s swing in here and park,” as he stopped the truck. “And listen, be careful of the dogs, they can be aggressive.…

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

Maneuvering the pickup over the dirt road so rutted and deeply cratered that our heads bounced dangerously close to the cab’s ceiling, Sal Katz, a retired army combat veteran, laughed. “Just a little bumpy,” he said. “But let’s swing in here and park,” as he stopped the truck. “And listen, be careful of the dogs, they can be aggressive.”It was an early morning in July and the heat was already oppressive. We were near the banks of the Fountain River behind the northside Wal-Mart, and were checking on people who were homeless and lived tucked away from nearby traffic. Katz and fellow Vietnam veteran Ed Ryan, was part of Posada’s response team who checked on people on camps around town, those who lived near the slag heaps left over from CF & I, and at the campgrounds in Pueblo West, dots on a map that Posada had identified as needing water, medical help, and information about services.It was 2015 and Pueblo County had recently made the sale of recreational marijuana legal. At the same time, Pueblo had been touted as one of the country’s least expensive places to live. The state had voted to expand Medicaid. All had created a perfect storm for an influx of people from out of state looking for a new home. The out of state plates on cars piled high with furniture and stuffed with families filled Posada’s parking lot: I talked to many of them for a story for the Guardian with the unfortunate title, “Welcome to Pueblo, Colorado: The Pot Rush Town for the Marijuana Industry.”I say unfortunate because the story was not only about travelers who had come for jobs in the new marijuana industry. It was about the response of Pueblo’s social service agencies to the city’s rising poverty rates among Puebloans, and how the agencies, whether governmental or non-profit, were already struggling to help the city’s poor and had been for many years, when the out-of-staters arrived.It was about how Edie De La Torre, executive director of Pueblo’s Cooperative Care Center, Anne Stattelman of Posada, and Sister Nancy Crafton of El Centro De Los Pobres, and others, do the daily and unglamorous work of helping people do the most basic things: eat, receive medical care, and have a roof over their heads. My path as a freelance writer landed me in Pueblo in 2014: a city I had only visited a few times because my boyfriend is here, a place the national media often refers to as “flyover country,” a city that shares many of the same social problems as other former industrial towns across the country: high poverty and crime rates, few job opportunities, failing schools, the opioid crisis, hospital closures. But in the years that I’ve been reporting about what it’s like to live in Pueblo, a city so different than the rest of the Front Range to the north, I’ve tried to write about the people here who are working to make a difference in the city. These are the untold stories that needed to be told on a national level, to show people around the country that you can’t stereotype people by poverty or unemployment statistics. So I wrote about Rob Archuleta, the addiction and recovery counselor whose sports program helps heroin addicts for Vice and Daneya Esgar, the state house representative I came to know for a story on the shut-down of Planned Parenthood for Dame. I learned that despite Pueblo’s high obesity rates, the city’s health…
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Pull – Don’t Pray – for Pueblo: Yard-sign activism must be met with bootstrap action 
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One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.

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