Karla Walker is the Director of Consumer and Community Engagement. She has over 25 years of leadership experience working for non-profits in the areas of public health, justice reform, racial justice, equity, advocacy and organizing. Karla’s personal vocation is working with neighborhoods and resident groups to educate people on their inherent rights to be civically engaged, and to stimulate the equality they aspire to have. For the past ten years, Karla has focused on developing specific programming and opportunities that build the leadership skills and power of constituencies in underserved communities. Karla has been successful in developing these programs by facilitating community-connected practice, which engages stakeholders at all levels, narrowing the power gaps that perpetuate systemic oppression.
Karla Walker was formerly the Director of the Family Matters Program at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department— this program was developed to assist inmates and their families in working toward strengthening their family unit, reunifying inmates with their children and connect families to support services and resources when needed. The Family Matters Program generates referrals to organizations that address multiple challenges faced by families that are often a by-product of incarceration.
Karla’s interest in impacting change within the education sector is informed by both her personal and professional experiences. Specifically, after searching to find schools that were able to develop her son’s strengths, while also address his unique learning needs, Karla relied on CPLAN to support her in this endeavor and became acutely aware of the disparities in access to high-quality, student-center educational options within her community. Overall, Karla’s life purpose is to engage and empower communities to lead the charge in fighting against the inequities that exist within their neighborhoods and schools. It is her hope that educating families on the need to reform antiquated systemic practices, will improve the quality of life for all people.
Areas of Expertise: Strategic Planning, Parent Advocacy, Community Development/Organizing