Join us on the second and fourth Sunday of the month for new episodes of The Early Link Podcast. Listen live at 99.1 FM in the heart of Portland – or online anywhere at

In this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto explores the topic of advocacy and the details of two legislative agendas focused on building an inclusive, equitable, and just public education system.


Amanda Manjarrez is the public policy & government affairs director at Foundations For A Better Oregon. Previously, Amanda served as director of advocacy at Latino Network, and as advocacy director for the Coalition of Communities of Color.

Dana Hepper is the director of policy & advocacy at Children’s Institute. She oversees the organization’s legislative advocacy and community engagement work, including Oregon’s Early Childhood Coalition.


Oregon Partners for Education Justice is a cross-cultural network of community-based organizations, culturally specific service providers, and education advocates who are championing a racially just and community-centered public education system for Oregon. The coalition believes in the vision, wisdom, and leadership of impacted communities, and advocates for equitable policies and investments that eliminate disparities and empower historically underserved children. Foundations For A Better Oregon is the coalition’s coordinating member. Read their 2021 Legislative Agenda.

Oregon’s Early Childhood Coalition includes more than 40 state and national organizations that work to advocate for young children and families. The coalition asks legislators to commit to continued improvement in early care, education, and supports for all of Oregon’s young children and families and to center the voices of those most impacted by legislative actions in their decision-making processes. Children’s Institute serves as a coordinating member of the coalition and offers facilitation support. Read their 2021 Legislative Agenda.


In this episode, Amanda Manjarrez and Dana Hepper explain the priorities of the coalitions’ respective agendas as well as where they overlap. They also share why racial equity is key to an advocacy agenda, and discuss the need to build on the historic investments established in the 2019 Student Success Act

Relevant Resources:

The Early Link Podcast’s episode on the 2019 Student Success Act


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 ~