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A New Season of The Colorado Dream podcast, “Newcomers Welcome: Arrival”

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Courtesy: Salwa Mourtada Bamba
A young Salwa Mourtada Bamba poses in her stroller with brother Abed, sister Laila and Korto, a family friend in Liberia.

As anti-immigrant rhetoric rises, a Colorado city decides to welcome newcomers from around the world. But if you’re a young woman from Africa, is Aurora a place to discover the American Dream?

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Courtesy: Salwa Mourtada Bamba
Salwa Mourtada Bamba, 11, poses for a photo on continuation day at her elementary school in Liberia in 1988.

Salwa Mourtada Bamba 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.”

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 Bamba.

Bamba’s 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

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 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.

The “American Dream” was coined in 1931 and since then the phrase has inspired people to work hard and dream big. But is it achievable today? Graduating from college is challenging, jobs are changing, and health care and basic rights can be a luxury. I report on the barriers people face and overcome to succeed and create a better life for themselves and their families.
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  • The Colorado Dream: 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 Out Now — Newcomers WelcomeIn Aurora, Colorado about one in five residents is foreign-born. While most come from Mexico, many hail from other parts of the world including thousands from the continent of Africa. The city created a plan called “Aurora is open to the world” and partnered with dozens of organizations that provide services to immigrants and refugees.But is the plan working?In season two of The Colorado Dream, join host Stephanie Daniel as she explores the Black immigrant experience in Aurora as told through the eyes of one African immigrant and Aurora as the city – and its residents – strive to become an inclusive home for all.