The Early Link – Building Relationships and Community Through Storytelling

Join us Sundays at 4:30pm for new episodes of The Early Link Podcast. Listen live at 99.1 FM in the heart of Portland – or online anywhere at PRP.fm.

This week, host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Johnny Lakean international consultant and trainer on community-building, equity, diversity and leadership with a focus on what youth need, and what our education systems need to better serve students and young people. His scholarship has focused on diversity, race and culture, and personal and organizational growth. And he is a writer and a storyteller who uses story to build relationships.  


In addition to the credentials above, Dr. Johnny Lake consults with government, professional and educational agencies and organizations. He is an administrator on special assignment with the Eugene 4J school district and an advocate for needs of at-risk youth and provides teacher training institutes and student learning and leadership opportunities. In addition, Dr. Lake is an internationally recognized writer and storyteller. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Willamette University, has a Masters in educational leadership and administration, and received his Ph.D. in educational leadership, policy, management and organization. Dr. Lake is also a former chairman of the State of Oregon Commission on Black Affairs.


Dr. Lake opens by sharing stories about his childhood growing up in Tennessee, in particular how his grandmother helped him to realize his true potential. Then, he recalls some of the awkward conversations regarding race that crossed his path upon his move to Oregon more than 3o years ago. Next, he touches on some of tools he uses (especially storytelling) to truly connect and explore diversity, equity and inclusion with the school communities he works with. Among those being Yoncalla, a small rural, predominantly white town here in Oregon. He then talks about the integral role of the teacher in the measured success of the child, some of the essentials of that relationship, and ultimately how this could create ample institutional change.  Dr. Lake concludes with what he hopes will change in the next 30 years, and what it would look like if we truly made progress on equity in the education environment. 


Additional Resources:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Ed and within the classroom

Preparing Staff for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Diversity and Inclusion in K-12 Education



Rafael Otto, Director of Communications, Children’s Institute

~ Thanks to Children’s Institute, working to ensure that every child in Oregon has the best start in life

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