The Rev. Benjamin P. Campbell, a long-time advocate for racial and economic justice in Richmond, has been selected as the Richmond Peace Education Center’s 2013 Peacemaker of the Year. Campbell will be honored at the RPEC annual membership appreciation dinner on May 16 at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, where he will ask participants to consider “The Price of Peace in Richmond”.
Ben Campbell, an Episcopal priest, has been an eloquent voice for social justice in our city for decades. In the 1980s, he founded a housing redevelopment organization called Home Base. Campbell was the driving force behind the founding of the Richmond Hill ecumenical retreat–one of the few places where black and white Richmonders gather together to work for the common good. Ben has worked closely with Hope in the Cities on inter-racial dialogues, and helped to establish Richmond’s Slave Trail, recognizing and preserving the little known historic sites where Africans were transported, housed, bought, and sold.
Campbell is a fierce advocate for Richmond public schools, serving as a trustee of the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation and board member of Communities In Schools of Richmond. He also helped to found the Micah Initiative, Richmond’s most extensive tutoring-mentoring program with nearly 130 faith communities supporting twenty-six Richmond elementary schools. Hundreds of Micah mentors dedicate their time and energy to fixing the world one child at a time.
Recently, Campbell has served as a member of the Mayor’s anti-poverty commission. He has launched an initiative to use public transit to address the issue of “segregation by transportation” and make suburban jobs accessible to Richmond’s inner-city residents.
Ben Campbell’s eloquent voice challenges citizens of all backgrounds to work for a better, more equitable Richmond. He reaches his audience both through his sermons and other spoken comments, as well as numerous written works, including his recent book Richmond’s Unhealed History, which addresses the complex relationship between poverty, race, power, and political boundaries in the metro area. His essays and letters have appeared in Style Weekly, the Richmond Hill Newsletter Update, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Ben knows the real history of this city as well as anyone. He came to Richmond in 1970 and his lived in Church Hill since that time. He reminds people of how the tragic legacy of slavery and racism affects our current civic reality. And he poses challenges for engaging our community in positive, productive, practical ways to move our community forward.
To read an excerpt from Richmond’s Unhealed History click here.