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Speaking Out

Rural communities of color changing the narrative

The nearly 14 million people of color who live in rural America face unique challenges that run the gamut — from navigating racism in real estate, environmental regulation and the justice system to gaining access to healthcare and broadband.

This six-part series from the Rural News Network, made possible with support from the Walton Family Foundation, explores the issues these communities are facing and what some are doing to change their fates.


Rural diversity series blends data, modern narratives and history

For nearly three months, 17 journalists at six news organizations delved into news stories about the unique challenges that some Black, Hispanic and Indigenous communities face in rural America.

Lawmakers tackled New Mexico’s crisis of rural health care workers. It wasn’t enough.
New Mexico In Depth October 11, 2023

New Mexico has a severe shortage of healthcare workers, particularly in the state’s rural and frontier areas, where a third of the state’s 2.1 million people live.

Heart Of Darkness: 1991 Lafayette County Cold Case Spurs Black Family’s Struggle For Justice
Mississippi Free Press October 11, 2023

The historically dismissive treatment of Black families who have lost loved ones to violence has long been rampant in Mississippi and beyond, seeding fear, distrust of law enforcement, and even rumors about coverups.

In Puerto Rico, residents wait for accountability, cleanup of toxic coal ash ‘caminos blancos’
Energy News Network October 10, 2023

On Puerto Rico’s south coast, toxic coal ash used to build roads has seeped into groundwater. Advocates blame it for high rates of cancer and other diseases.

When it comes to mining on sacred lands, some tribal members say their voices have been overlooked
Sierra Nevada Valley October 9, 2023

A mining project in Nevada is hoping to provide the lithium needed to fuel the green energy transition. Regional tribes say they weren’t properly consulted by the government.

Black churches play a key role in connecting communities to broadband internet
Religion News Service October 6, 2023

Black clergy and faith leaders in the rural South have been working for years to bridge the digital divide in their communities and congregations.

Three Nebraska tribes are done losing land. Now they’re buying.
Flatwater Free Press October 5, 2023

Three Native tribes are rebuying back land that was once theirs, before the U.S. government took some and then desperation stole more. Getting it back isn’t cheap.

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