Deborah J. Walker

Deborah J. Walker

Deborah J. Walker, Ph.D. is a multicultural, organizational, and community development consultant and professional trainer.  Her personal goal is to help create and maintain organizational and community environments that recognize, understand, appreciate and leverage differences in ways that support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Most recently, Walker co-managed the VISIONS/Kellogg SBHC (School Based Health Center) program and managed The Mid South Delta Initiative (MSDI), both Kellogg Foundation programs designed to support communities in their efforts to address various disparities.  Walker’s background is in higher education administration.  For many years, she served in administration at Miles College, an HBCU (HBCUs are historically black college and universities) in Birmingham, taught courses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and served in administration at Lawson State Community College.  She also was instrumental in creating the Multicultural Friendship Celebration and the Power Breakfast (Economic Development) during her term as board chair with the Birmingham Urban League.  In Charlotte, NC, where she now lives, Walker was instrumental in helping to revive the Diversity Council of the Carolinas (DCC) and in maintaining the work of the Community Association for Community Health Equity (CACHE).

Walker co-facilitated the PBS 3-part series “Race: The Power of an Illusion” as a part of Charlotte’s support of Racial Equity Week.   She also facilitated for the COURAGE exhibit, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown versus Board of Education (1954-2004), and was a facilitator for Crossroads Charlotte, the two year civic engagement project designed to engage the community in determining what kind of community Charlotte will be by 2015.

On Whose Shoulders I Stand

I am an African-American, a woman, a born and bred Southerner, and a Christian. I’m college educated and a heterosexual baby boomer. I am middle class, temporarily ablebodied, and a citizen of the world. Each identity shapes how I show up in the world. The first four formed the core foundation for my worldview and my purpose in the world.

I grew up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s. My memories of dogs and fire hoses, dynamite bombings, and senseless killings shaped my view of the world and my role in it. I too was shaped by the courage of my childhood friends marching in the streets and going to jail and by the fearless determination of the village of adults who tried to create a sense of normality in the face of unabridged hate. I was supported by a faith-filled family who believed that ultimately God was in charge. Against this backdrop, my strongly held fears and my growing rage lived side-by-side.

On September 15, 1963, fear and rage erupted into a powerful passion to fight injustice at any cost.