The Nexus of Empowerment and Justice

by Alicia Gibson

In empowered communities people have control over the decisions that shape their lives. Empowerment is at the heart of all forms of real justice. 

Alicia's 4 Keys To

Empowered Communities

  • Grassroots organizing

  • Ongoing recruitment and training of local leaders from all walks of life

  • Taxpayer funding of community-led programs

  • Emphasis on relationships, healing, and happiness

Alicia will support communities and neighborhoods to co-create and implement creative solutions that empower grassroots leaders and neighbors by focusing on what is lawful action at the city level and collaborating with city, regional and state partners. She will be in the communities, listening, asking questions, and connecting neighbors with similar interests and passions to each other and to financial resources that will make their work more successful. By focusing on practical solutions that fit within the scope of city control we will advance the work of empowerment and justice with results.


Alicia is running not only to pass progressive policies, she is here to meet the challenges that demand we think and operate differently. We don't just need police reform, we need to address centuries of harm. We need restorative justice. We don't just need to build more homes for more people, we need to provide long-term housing security. We need housing justice. We don't just need to save the planet from climate change, we need to undo mentalities of exploitation. We need environmental justice.

Restorative Justice

We must create a paradigm shift in the way we think about public safety, one that acknowledges the centuries of harm caused by systemic racism and economic exploitation. In the narrowest sense restorative justice is an alternative process -- based on conflict resolution models traditionally found in indigenous communities -- for repairing the harm caused by crime. In the broadest sense restorative justice is a philosophy for creating new paradigms to transform our models for public safety that insists on restoring the humanity of all members of the community as well as creating equitable relationships and structures rooted in fairness.

​Prevention and Peacemaking

  • Robust and adequately funded 211-311-411-911 system responds to community need within a public health paradigm

  • Neighborhood restorative justice programs create alternate diversion programs to restore relationships when harm occurs

  • Publicly funded community-based mentorship, violence interruption, and peacebuilding programs

  • Opportunities for deep conversation across differences

Transform Policing​

  • Demilitarized policing

  • Community oversight and input on policing practices, including implementation of community-led solutions

  • Strengthened police accountability  

  • Precinct by precinct truth and reconciliation commissions and permanent restorative processes between police and community

  • Rebuilt MPD with officers who more closely resemble the communities they serve

  • Partnership and funding for gun buy-back

Housing Justice

Minneapolis is in the midst of a housing crisis -- we need more housing. However, operating according to the principle of building whatever can turn a profit is not the answer. Buildings represent the investment of a generation and have enormous impacts on the life of the community. Because of this, the community must meaningfully participate in all phases of development planning, and there must be a balance of housing types across the wards. Housing justice means reparations for red-lining and stolen indigenous land, opportunities for low-income home ownership, and leaders who see it as their duty to ensure renters' rights are enforced and residents affected by displacement are made whole.

​Radical Inclusion

  • Housing reparations increase number of Black and Native home ownership

  • Opportunities for low-income home ownership, such as right to 1st refusal that includes smaller-scale buildings and "right to return" program

  • Systems and leaders make good on renters rights by enforcing them

  • Partnerships with neighborhoods at every opportunity to meet community needs


Development Scorecard

  • Community development goals co-created with neighborhoods guide developers and the Planning Commission

  • Easy to read scoring indicates how well community development goals are being met in each neighborhood

  • Development score on a project-by-project basis as determined by a neighborhood-led process

Diversity in Housing Types

  • Increase emergency shelter capacity

  • Laws, policies, and codes increase the availability of Single Room Occupancy, Rooming Houses, and Ancillary Housing in order to increase the transition of older buildings into housing people can afford 

  • More city, county, state funding of affordable housing

Environmental Justice

There is no clearer example of the way old paradigms of thinking have brought us to a dead end than climate change -- we could add to the list species extinction, and the choking off our rivers, lakes, and oceans. If we do not address the underlying causes for this dire state of affairs, policies to stop the damage will leave in place the paradigm of exploitation that continues to enrich some at the expense of others. The idea of environmental justice began at the 1991 First National People of Color Leadership Summit. Governing by its principles means making things like toxic clean-up a priority in historically marginalized parts of the city, but it also means including the community in a fundamental way in the planning and implementation of all infrastructure plans -- not for them, but with them.

Holistic Approaches

  • City projects consider energy efficiency, water quality, air pollution, native habitat, tree canopy, and community relationships to green spaces

  • Impacts to animals, plants, insects included in planning: native plantings for habitat, green strips to break up dense urban built environment, tree canopy impact analyzed on ongoing basis

  • Minneapolis meets emission reduction targets from our Climate Action Plan (80% by 2050)

Building Communities of Renewal

  • Increased access to community gardens, particularly in dense, renter-dominant locations

  • Funding at neighborhood level for projects connecting the community to outdoor spaces and environmental stewardship

  • Opportunities for community conversations around ecological impacts and current use give rise to community-driven solutions to reach environmental goals

Alicia wants to hear from you.
What are your dreams and visions for Ward 10 and Minneapolis?