Over the weekend, one of my courses took me to the northeast part of Denver (think Five Points) for an immersion experience. While there, we discussed some of the problems neighborhoods in this part of town are facing and what some people have tried for solutions. The neighborhoods in this part of Denver are often categorized as poor. However, I found out how relative “poor” can be. In no way should this stir up images of Calcutta, India, Chihuahua, Mexico, or even parts of New York. Honestly, the houses and streets were well kept and you might not even guess that this was the poor area unless somebody told you. But they fall under the categorization of poor because most all the families rely on the government for assistance. Our teacher told us that one of the most telling statistics on just how poor a neighborhood is is how many students qualify for reduced lunches at school. In one of the three neighborhoods we visited, the number was around 93%. So although on the surface many of these people wouldn’t appear poor, in reality they would fall under the scope of the “working poor.” Many of them have jobs (although usually at the bottom of the corporate ladder). Gang activity can still be a problem at times; contrary to popular belief however, the gangs are really just out for one another, not whoever happens upon their turf. And lastly, for today at least, racism is real. Especially racial profiling. Our teacher told us of so many incidents he has experienced first-hand that it makes you want to vomit.
I’ll post more thoughts on the weekend tomorrow.