HOPE in Rural America
Photo by Tori Martinez of videographer James Chance and Katy Plumb
In 2020 57.23 Million people or approximately 19% of the United States population were living in rural areas (populations of less than 50,000), according to census data. “Rural people and places are frequently overlooked by policymakers, philanthropy, and mainstream media. Going forward, it will take thoughtful, consistent effort to restore rural voices to national conversations about how we create systems and policies that fully embrace all populations and geographies.”
The HOPE (Helping Others Promoting Equity) in Alamosa team of young adults were invited to contribute to the 2021 Rural Assembly Everywhere, the national conference on rural America. The Rural Assembly Everywhere conference was held on April 20 & 21, to mark time together, to wrestle with questions about how we build a nation that serves all of us, and to respond to calls for unity and repair. Rural advocates and the rural-curious, listeners and leaders, neighbors and admirers participated in programming that featured experts and poets, civic leaders and culture-bearers. For more information on the conference visit https://ruralassembly.org/everywhere/.
Comprised of 18- to 30-year-olds, the HOPE team is dedicated to understanding and improving the health and well-being of young adults living in Alamosa. After conducting a community health equity survey in early 2020, the HOPE team decided to address the issues of conflict and tensions around race, ethnicity, language and discrimination highlighted by Alamosa members who took the survey. Because of this work HOPE was asked to create four, 2-minute long, videos to be featured during the annual rural conference. Videographer (James Chance), sponsored by The Colorado Trust, came to Alamosa to film the team at various locations throughout the community. Locations included Main Street, Adams State University’s C.A.S.A. center, Blanca Vista Park, and trails along the Rio Grande River.
The HOPE team created a group video, in which three of the team members discussed what inclusion looks like in their community and within the HOPE team. “Inclusion means that community leaders reflect who is actually in our community,” said Katy Plumb (pictured center). Elisa Chavez (pictured to the left) added that “Our group is doing this work in the community because historically there are large portions of our community that haven’t gotten the equality and the equity that we deserve.”
The same team members were also featured in individual videos about what the American Dream means to them, and the barriers young adults face in rural America trying to achieve the American Dream. According to Garrett Pearson (pictured to the right) "The American Dream isn't what it used to be...we can not follow that same American Dream that our parents and grandparents had." To view all four videos visit the HOPE website at https://www.hopealamosa.com/our-videos.