June 12, 2020

Co-Creating with Community

Mural by PPL LEAP students

The events that led us here are as shameful as they are ugly and painful. As a community, as a nonprofit, and as a state, we need to recognize that we not only need to do more, but we also need to do "it" differently. 

Over the last two weeks, we’ve been asking ourselves: How?

This is what we know: Equity needs to live at the center. Neighborhoods and place matter. We need to rebuild the fabric of community, both the people and the buildings. And yes, we need police reform and some other critical systems changes. 

To do "it" differently, it means co-creation with community. 

Co-creation means walking alongside community, investing in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) organizations, building roots in community that create a sense of self-determination and voice for the long haul, and emphasizing the importance of ownership and wealth creation. This is equity in practice. 
In conversations with our residents, participants, students, staff, supporters, and partners, we know we have the framework in place to dig deeper. Three pillars of our strategic plan that undergird our housing and career readiness work will guide us as we help to rebuild the fabric of our community:

  • Centering and pushing forward with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Committing to Neighborhood Engagement
  • Influencing Public Policy

We believe that all organizations and institutions need to adopt a holistic and comprehensive approach to racial equity. This approach must build personal knowledge, awareness, and organizational muscle in order to drive change. That's a journey we've been on for several years now.

For PPL, that's a path that begins to tackle how PPL reflects BIPOC communities on our board and in our staffing, a path that builds cultural competence and dialogue across all of our people; a path that places the voices of our residents, participants, students, and communities as the drivers of the work -- it's a journey that builds partnership and capacity with other culturally-based organizations. 

Strengthening community voice and capacity needs to be a new outcome for the entire community's approach to rebuilding and addressing deeper systemic issues.

That's the journey we have been on and it's a message we will be sharing far and wide. 


Mural artists: PPL LEAP students; mural at 38th & Nicollet


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