Losing Ground: Rocky Mountain PBS NewsSpecial Project
Losing Ground presents a disturbing yet compelling portrait of a state where black and Latino residents are falling further and further behind their white counterparts. That state is Colorado.
I-News journalists analyzed six decades of reports from the U.S. Census Bureau to track the state’s poverty rates, family income, high school and college graduation rates and home ownership. The analysis uncovered surprising trends in racial and ethnic disparities. Minority gains made during the era of the civil rights movement eroded with time. Colorado evolved from a state that was by most measures more equitable than the national average in the first decades covered by the analysis to one that is less so now.
Health data and justice figures examined as part of the analysis also show disparities. Major civil rights efforts for women, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and people with disabilities have occurred in Colorado. After the civil rights movements of the 1960s, Colorado was one of the more equitable places in the nation for minorities.
That began to change, however, in the 1980s and 1990s. To understand where Colorado is headed in the future, it’s important to understand both the past and the present. The story you read here is the reality in Colorado today. But the state’s residents don’t have to resign themselves to a future of every-widening disparities. There are steps that can be taken – individually and as a matter of public policy – that experts agree can begin to turn the trend in the other direction. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but it can be done. The four stories, told through text, video, photos and graphics, comprise this series about the issue of inequity that, according to most experts, pose a significant future hurdle for a state in which minorities are a rising population.