YoUthROC is a community and University-connected youth research team that supports the growth of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and is committed to youth, kinship, and racial justice in education. The team centers Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth and other marginalized communities. YoUthROC is an affiliate program to the University of Minnesota’s Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) in North Minneapolis and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is a community-based social justice research approach that supports the leadership and knowledge of youth most impacted by disparities to develop solutions to improve their lives, communities, and institutions intended to serve them. YPAR challenges the traditional idea of research by centering youth as collaborative researchers. In YPAR, young people directly affected by an issue work together to understand and study it. Briefly, the YPAR process, locally or globally, involves building community alongside:
- Defining an issue, writing a question, and creating a plan to address that issue
- Investigating: Collecting data and critically analyzing together to create findings
- Taking action: Telling the story, publishing recommendations, and deciding on social and collective action toward a specific goal
The team aims to:
- Provide support and training for anti-racist, justice-oriented youth research;
- Conduct YPAR projects that center and showcase the power of BIPOC youth through accessible and culturally relevant research methods;
- Model kinship, nourish connections, and sustain reciprocal community partnerships; and
- Reclaim Northside spaces and return them to spaces that serve the community's BIPOC youth.
We are guided by words of elder, scholar, author and civil rights leader Josie R. Johnson:
For the ancestors who struggled for me
For the future generations for whom I struggle
Always in love and always for justice