There is no better place to live than Denver. With the Rocky Mountains as a beautiful backdrop and more than 300 days of sunshine, it’s no wonder so many people want to call Denver home. We have diverse communities and understand the value of hard work, doing what’s right, and lending a helping hand to our neighbors.
Still, we have work to do. In the coming weeks, Denver will decide the future of our city for generations to come. We need visionary leaders who will make the tough decisions and respond to our growing challenges by creating high-quality jobs, expanding the middle class, and making Denver the small business capital of the country.
The organizations we represent work in the Denver community with building trade unions, ﬁrst responders, business leaders, and job creators who understand the future success of our community is in our ability to give everyone a seat at the table no matter race, color, creed, or sexual orientation. We can lift people out of poverty. We can expand the middle class and professional and trade professions by creating strong wages and a path to success for all hardworking Denverites.
Across the city we are conducting job fairs, interview trainings, and resume writing classes. This, along with investing in areas that increase equity in our local small, black, and other minority-owned businesses, will mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators and prepare Denver for the future economy and the next level of economic development.
We face big decisions as to what type of city we will become, and urge our neighborhoods to consider which leaders will best advance economic mobility for our most marginalized communities. A stronger middle class means equity and inclusion for all people. Let’s support the upward mobility of black and brown communities by lifting people out of poverty through job training and workforce development, strengthening women and minority-owned businesses, energy aﬀordability, and creating economic stabilization through homeownership.
Today, many Denverites are struggling to aﬀord the rising cost of rent and to experience the generational wealth that comes with homeownership. The 2021 American Community Survey showed that more than 7 in 10 White Coloradans and about half of Latino residents own their homes, and only 42% of Black Coloradans own their homes. Moreover, according to a February 16th Colorado News Collaborative analysis, Latino and Black Coloradans are twice as likely to live in poverty as white Coloradans. Black and Latino children are about three times as likely to live in poverty as their white peers.
Our neighborhoods are strongest when we work together and collaborate on the issues we face – rather than focusing on zero-sum politics, backroom deals, and political “gotchas” that cause us to legislate out of fear of saying the wrong thing. Families in Denver are looking to our new leaders for results — leaders who will prioritize integrity, transparency, and progress ahead of political theatrics. Those who are unwilling to collaborate and ﬁnd common ground on the big issues of housing, home ownership, equity, and income disparities, enjoy an economic privilege that regular people in Denver do not. This needs to change. Our democracy depends on it.
Denver can be a national model for the nation: A hub for problem solving, collaboration, and delivering results; a city full of our vibrant communities, and small businesses with high-quality jobs that expand our middle class and create upward mobility and wealth generation. Working together, we can foster economic development and implement best value contracting to build our local economy, increase our workforce development programs throughout the city, strengthen education, and forge more community partnerships throughout the city.
We can do it, Denver. In the coming weeks, we will decide what type of city we are to become for the next generation. Let’s create an economic environment that blends progressive-oriented business values that focus on wealth generation and upward mobility to build us back towards a broader middle class and ﬁnancial stability for all income levels.
We have accomplished a lot. There’s still more work to do. Denver can be a ﬂagship for the United States on how to get things done. It’s going to take all of us working together.
Muriel Williams-Thompson, of Aurora, is president of the Denver National Association of Real Estate Brokers.
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