Wednesday July 6th 2022

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‘Little Earth’ Archives

Little Earth Partnership Redefines Research

By SARAH McVICAR Reprinted with permission from Metropolitan State University”™s Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship In 2015, Metropolitan State Human Services Professor Roberta Gibbons and residents of the Little Earth community embarked on a rare, shared project that would impact them both in fundamental and enduring ways. Like Little Earth itself ”“ the only Native-preference Section 8 housing community in the nation ”“ the initiative was unique from the start. It began with a proposal for a small research grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to gather data about the drivers and causes of violence at Little Earth ”“ and potentially secure a subsequent larger grant to fund community programming. At the heart of the project was the unique way in which it embodied its model of Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) ”“ what the Healthy City program defines as a “collaborative approach to research that involves all stakeholders throughout the research process...” and “aims to address the practical concerns of people in a community and fundamentally changes the roles of researcher and who is being researched” ”“ or, as Gibbons describes it: “Research with a community rather than research on a community.” “This was a project that followed very true to the model of participatory action research,” Gibbons said. “Working with the community, focusing on action, you really learn more because there”™s trust and investment. The impact of this kind of research can be far greater than research that is just about numbers and publishing ”“ especially for the community.” Also central to the model was the convening of critical community stakeholders who have not historically worked together, including notably the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and Minneapolis Park [...]

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