The Colorado Dream shares stories of Coloradans who are overcoming obstacles to create a better life for themselves and their families in an effort to achieve the American Dream.
New season coming August 5 - Newcomers Welcome. Aurora is home to thousands of immigrant residents from the continent of Africa. As the city strives to become an inclusive home for all, is it truly helping those most in need? Join host Stephanie Daniel as she explores the Black immigrant experience in Aurora as told through the eyes of one African immigrant — and the city itself.
The Black immigrant population in Colorado is growing faster than anywhere else in the U.S. They come from Africa, the Caribbean and beyond, and many settle in Aurora, where about one in five residents is foreign born. A lot of them have overcome great challenges to emigrate here, including Salwa Mourtada Bamba.
Salwa was born in Liberia, West Africa and endured the country’s brutal civil war. She was displaced, her sister was murdered and she literally fled for her life, moving to Ghana for four years. But during moments of relative calm she would daydream about coming to the United States.
“To me, the American dream was just being afforded the opportunity to come here and attain the highest level of education that I possibly could,” she said. “It was always touted on television to be this place where you can be and grow and and gain the best at anything and at any dream you wanted to.”
Her dreams became a reality in 1998 when she arrived alone at JFK International Airport in New York City. A year later she was settled in Aurora, Colorado, ready to take on her new world.
Links and credits
To learn more about Salwa Mourtada Bamba and the city of Aurora, and to see photos of the people included in this episode and other extras, go to the Colorado Dream website.
Salwa on social media:
The Migration Policy Institute on social media:
The Colorado Dream: Newcomers Welcome is a production from KUNC. It was written and reported by me, Stephanie Daniel. Editing by Johanna Zorn. Fact-checking by Cat Jaffee with additional help from Adam Rayes. This season's theme song was composed by Jason Paton, who also sound designed and mixed the episode. Additional music was composed by Matthew Simonson. Ashley Jefcoat is the digital editor. Special thanks to Chandra Whitfield, Robert Leja, Kyle Cunningham and Kim Rais. Sean Corcoran is KUNC’s news director. Tammy Terwelp is KUNC’s president and CEO.