Dolla’ Dolla’ Bill Y’all
How do you challenge the structures of power that exist in our world? At Youthprise, we challenge structures of power by centering young people in the work. This is not only about having young people at the table for conversations about philanthropy, storytelling and research, but ensuring they have decision-making power. Through YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research), youth hold the power as researchers to discover the best solutions to improve their communities. YPAR is a methodology that we use at Youthprise to center those most impacted by an issue and ensure that we support research and analysis that develops solutions for social, cultural, and political transformation.
Youth voices are often left out of, or exploited by the research process. At Youthprise, young people are invited to safely and confidently ask the questions that adults cannot or will not ask. By including young people’s experiences and perspectives, we collect data that would otherwise be neglected in research design and implementation. We use grassroots research through the YPAR methodology to support action that challenges dominant narratives and exposes social injustice to make the case for change.
In 2015, Juxtaposition (JXTA) became one of five organizations to receive a YPAR grant from Youthprise. The team took three months to conduct background research and develop four questions to guide their research. Their research project evolved into Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all, which asked one major question: What are the experiences of Black business owners on West Broadway?
Within our network, the Tactical Urbanism team of Juxtapositon Arts (JXTA) conducted a yPAR project to highlight the Black owned businesses in the organization’s neighborhood of West Broadway in North Minneapolis. According to the team and website, tactical urbanism is defined as a new way of city planning. JXTA’s Tactical Lab uses art, design and other practices that amplify neighborhood voice, build community knowledge, and interrupt patterns of disinvestment in North Minneapolis. The process combines art and design with urban planning, research, community building, and engagement. The team creates needed interventions in public spaces and talks with the community about issues affecting them in that space.
The Tactical Urbanism team consists of eight JXTA apprentices (youth staff) and two adult leads. For this project, research was conducted by a smaller group of three apprentices and one adult lead. The team collected 19 surveys and 11 usable interviews from business owners. All of the businesses were located on West Broadway between Penn Avenue and I-94. 84% of the surveyed business owners identified as Black.
The research project concluded in October 2016. The team analyzed quantitative and qualitative results of surveys and interviews. Their findings were shared with the community in a youth visioning workshop featuring young people from Cookie Cart, Appetite for Change, JXTA, and the surrounding area. During the event, small groups discussed the values and spaces that were important to create an ideal West Broadway.