Des Moines, Iowa —The ACLU of Iowa is pleased to honor Mary Campos with the 2017 Edward S. Allen Award.
In one way or another, Mary Campos has touched the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of Latinos, youth, and women in Iowa.
Her grandparents came to the U.S. from Mexico. Her parents were coal miners who came to Iowa as migrant workers, sometimes living in chicken coops of the families for whom they worked.
But grit and determination, along with deep compassion, helped Mary get through. Her husband was the first Latino deputy sheriff in Polk County, and she was an outspoken advocate for civil rights and equality in the city’s hiring practices of police officer and fire fighters.
She went on to serve on numerous boards and councils as a champion for civil rights for women and people of color, including the first Latino woman on the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. She’s also been a leader in the League for United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and its voter registration drives.
She has spent countless hours helping non-English speaking families learn English and walk them through the steps they need to become U.S. Citizens. She has been a mentor to many younger Latinos who not only relied on her advice and her generosity when she took them into her home for months or even years.
She was the first Latino inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. Her work has also earned her national and international awards, including the Ohtli Award for her work assisting Mexican immigrants. It is the highest honor given to individuals outside of Mexico.
At 88, she is still going strong and is still serving her community in various capacities.
About the Award
The Edward S. Allen Award is given to a notable Iowan who has made a significant, long-term contribution to civil liberties in Iowa.
It is named after the Iowa State University math professor who helped found the ACLU of Iowa back in 1935, one of just five ACLU affiliates in the country.
Mary Campos will receive the award at the ACLU of Iowa Bill of Rights Brunch on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Des Moines Botanical Garden. More information can be found at www.aclu-ia.org.