August 16, 2022 – The Village of Oak Park’s commitment to racial equity is taking a significant step forward with the arrival of an accomplished professional with a PhD in philosophy to fill the newly created role of Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer.
Danielle Walker, Ph.D., is the newest member of the Village’s executive leadership team and will be responsible for collaboratively developing and driving the Village’s organization-wide equity and inclusion strategies, including the development of a racial equity action plan, and the implementation of the Village’s racial equity toolkit.
Dr. Walker officially stepped into her new role Aug. 15. She comes to Oak Park after serving in a similar capacity for the City and County of Denver-City Attorney’s Office, where she was the first person to hold the title of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Administrator.
“I am pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Danielle Walker to lead the highly important work of institutionalizing diversity, equity and inclusion in our Village government,” Village Manager Kevin Jackson said. “Her extensive background leading, advising and advocating for the infusion of diversity, equity and inclusion in organizational cultures and other workforce dynamics makes her uniquely qualified to fill this position.”
In addition to her most recent role with the City Attorney’s Office at the City and County of Denver, Dr. Walker’s professional background includes serving as a Policy Advisor for the Colorado Department of Health Care, Policy and Finance with a focus on equity within the disability community. She has also spent nearly a decade researching strategies around diversity, equity and inclusion plans for a wide range of industries.
Dr. Walker has experience developing racial equity plans to include specific performance goals related to diversity, equity and inclusion. She has also hosted hundreds of presentations aimed at providing foundational understandings of social justice and racial equity in state and local governments as well as other community organizations.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the Village of Oak Park and continue my pursuit of embedding racial equity within organizations,” Dr. Walker said. “I have dedicated my career to equity and social justice that boldly leads to cultivating an equitable and inclusive society for all voices, communities and people that have been left behind. I’m excited to continue on this path in Oak Park.”
Dr. Walker earned her doctoral degree in philosophy with a concentration on critical social issues in education from the University of Colorado-Denver. Her education background also includes a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Missouri, where she also earned her bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies.
Some of Dr. Walker’s accomplishments include being the founder of the Racism Lives Here initiative for higher education and receiving the 47th NAACP Image Chairman’s Award for activism.
Dr. Danielle Walker