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Blog Post: Running With My Girls Premiere

The core driver of Mamabird Interviews is to empower and open doors for young Black, Latina and Indiegenous women from marginalized communities. This focus came to me from a long winding path of learning from so many amazing young people in Montbello (a suburb of Denver). I taught in Montbello for 10 years (Film and Business), and maybe what I learning about the most was my many, many privileges.


One specific moment that helped catalyze my internal north star was meeting Rebekah Henderson at Millete Birhanemaskel’s Whittier Cafe in Five Points. I was teaching at Northeast Early College at the time (2 years ago) and the wonderful Shannon Hoffman had arranged a field trip for my business students to visit the Cafe in order to meet and learn from Millete. Millete is an amazing entrepreneur and a refugee from Ethiopia. She runs Whittier Cafe, which has been dubbed “The Activist Coffee Shop” and has done good business by creating an environment that is supported by the community and the people. While we were there we ran into the amazing creative Rebekah Henderson. A true artist and former librarian, Rebekah was working on finishing a feature length documentary film called “Running with My Girls.”



After I watched this trailer I thought several things.

  1. We need women to lead our future. Men have done it for thousands of years and it is time for women. After another thousands of years we can compare notes and work from there

  2. We need women who represent the people and not special interests to do this work

  3. Most of my top high school students have been women, and often they are not finding success in college and career after they graduate from high school


Looking back at it, it was an “aha” moment for the work I am currently so focused on. Outside of that I thought that this film is destined for Netflix and should be watched by everyone in school and beyond. I donated a small amount of money to the making of her film, but thought if I had a lot of money, one thing I would do with it is help this film get seen by the masses. I connected with Rebekah that day and we have developed a small friendship from there which

I thoroughly enjoy.


So I am incredibly honored and excited to be going to the Denver Film Festival tonight to watch the premier of Running with My Girls at the Sie Film Center. It is sold out and I know everyone will love it. I hope that it grows legs. No, I hope that it grows wings after this premier and gets into bigger festivals and is seen by bigger audiences. I think it will inspire women to run. Inspire men to follow women. Inspire a better future for all.


One reason I love this film is it features the amazing Dr. Calderon. Dr. Lisa Calderon ran for mayor of Denver in 2019 and is just an amazing woman. I met Dr. Calderon where she was my “peer” in our doctoral program at CU Denver. The term peer is not an accurate one however, as I look up to her in every way. I was instantly wanting to connect and learn more from her. At the time of our program (starting in 2014) she was fighting the criminal justice system to help inmates get a better education while being a professor. She was already a lawyer and had multiple degrees and was getting her doctorate, all while raising an amazing daughter. She is just a natural leader and community organizer. I was and still am in awe of her. I cannot wait until she is our Mayor, if that is the path she chooses. In my mind, I call her “The Senator” because that is really where I want to see her! By the way, Denver has never had a woman mayor. Also by the way, Colorado has never had a woman Senator. I am coming to this party way late, but I promise to push other men to realize how f*cked up this is. And even more importantly than bing f-ed up, it is bad for our world! We need women's leadership today!


Tonight we have been asked to do live Interviews for Dr. Calderon’s organization Emerge Colorado at the pre-party. We are able to pay 5 amazing young people to attend with grant money from the City of Denver. Areyana, Lorena, Astrid, Mari and Amayas have so much to give this world. Being a connector and mentor to them means the world to me, but also empowering them will make the world a better place for all of us. I am sure of it. Tonight they will learn, grow our reach and brand, and network with some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. On top of that, we will watch one of the best films I have seen, that will inspire the next generation of leaders to overcome all the difficulties of running for office and become our next leaders.


You can purchase virtual tickets to Running with my Girls here - https://watch.eventive.org/denverfilmfestival/play/61550e6f1d62fd003e428ce0


I could not recommend it more highly. As you watch, think about a world where amazing women are leading through their experiences, through their trauma, and through their triumphs. This is the world I want to live in. And I respect and thank Rebekah Henderson for her role in my journey to make this my life’s work.


Dr. Dan Clarke

11-10-21



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