There are two sides of Modesto: Residents living west of Highway 99 and those living east. Residents living to the east of 99 enjoy sidewalks and street lights, and those living to the west in county pockets go without. Residents to the east have easy access to food, education, healthcare and transportation. Those to the west live largely without. Residents to the east feel they are engaged by city and county leaders. Those to the west, as witnessed during the pandemic, do not.
The gap in equity both before, and now accentuated with the coronavirus pandemic, is widening in Modesto and Stanislaus County. Hit especially hard are people of color, especially Latinos, who make up 47% of Stanislaus County’s population. How do we change this trajectory and quicken the pace of equity among all residents? Answering these and related questions are at the center of the Economic Mobility Lab Project and its mission to provide revealing, solutions-oriented journalism.
Our Economic Mobility Lab will consist of reporters to cover our Latino and underserved neighborhoods (our equity reporter), economic development and education – with an acute focus on how residents in all areas of Modesto and Stanislaus County can overcome systemic roadblocks like neighborhood infrastructure, access to government and political strength to help improve their lives.
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