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April 1, 2024

Bill to Uncover and Define Systemic Racial Inequities in Colorado Passes Committee

DENVER, CO – The House State, Civic, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee today passed legislation to jumpstart a study to examine racial disparities and the impact of systemic racism on Black Coloradans. SB24-053, sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and Naquetta Ricks, would create the Black Coloradan Racial Equity Commission to determine and make recommendations surrounding the lasting effects of systemic racism in Colorado’s practices, systems, and policies.

“Generations of systemic racism cannot be eliminated by a few policy changes – we need data-driven research to define the structural inequities Black Coloradans are experiencing,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “From redlining to limited educational opportunities, we know Black Coloradans have combated blatant inequality and racism for decades. This important, community led, legislation would help Colorado develop a deeper understanding of the impacts of past and current racial inequities and give us the tools we need to craft forward-thinking policy that will support Black Coloradans into the future.”

“Uncovering the historical harm done against Black Coloradans is an important step forward in our healing and creating a more equitable future for us all,” said Rep. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora. “This legislation would instruct History Colorado to research decades of systemic inequalities in our schools, our neighborhoods and in statewide policies that will help us better understand their lasting impacts on Black Coloradans today. While painful, this racial equity study opens the door to future conversations and will help us craft future policies that will uplift Black families instead of putting barriers in front of them.” 

SB24-053, which passed by a vote of 8-3 would establish a commission to direct History Colorado to conduct historical research across areas like economic mobility, housing, K-12 education, health care and the criminal justice system. Racial equity studies, like the one outlined in SB24-053, can be used as tools to qualify and quantify past discrimination and recommend certain corrective measures.

The study would also include an economic impact analysis of the racial discrimination determined by the study. Under this bill, History Colorado would submit the study to the commission and any recommendations within two-and-a-half years. The work of the commission and the study hinge on receiving adequate gifts, grants, and donations to fund it. 

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