On February 21, 2020, the Mary Turner Center for Advocacy honored Linda Campbell and the Detroit People’s Platform with the Nida Donar Social Justice Award.
Linda has worked for over forty years in the nonprofit and governmental sectors. Her career began in public health and social services, working at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Detroit Health Department. In the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Detroit, she co-founded the Community Health Awareness Group, one of the nation’s first Black-led HIV/AIDS Service Organizations. Linda then spent another decade leading public health initiatives and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in New York, including serving as the Executive Director of the city’s Minority Task Force on AIDS. Linda returned to Detroit at the end of the 1990s to work with local health departments, nonprofits, faith-based agencies, and foundations to develop and implement community-based health and human service initiatives.
Linda has been involved with the Building Movement Project since our founding. She is the co-author of BMP’s Social Service and Social Change: A Process Guide, a guidebook for nonprofit service organizations trying to shift towards broader systems change by addressing root causes and integrating social change practices into their work. Today, Linda is the Director of Detroit People’s Platform and she supports nonprofit groups and resident-led organizations in building capacity, voice, and power in their communities.
During the awards reception, Linda shared some thoughts on the values and mission that guide the work of Detroit People’s Platform. Below is an excerpt of her speech:
Good evening, everyone. To the board, staff, and volunteers of the Mary Turner Center for Advocacy and in memory of Nida Donar: thank you so much for honoring me and the work of the Detroit People’s Platform.
At the heart of our mission at the Detroit People’s Platform is an underlying commitment to working with and for Detroiters in the fight for racial and economic justice. Our work is done principally by bringing together the skills, talents, and power of Detroiters who embrace a history of collective and progressive movement building. When black Detroit rises, we all rise.
We acknowledge that the work all begins with a vision, a vision that speaks of achieving the unlikely and winning that which is thought to be impossible. The vision often, in true Detroit style, bubbles up from conversations and sometimes loud arguments that occur in someone’s living room, a church basement, a neighborhood hangout, or at the all-too-familiar meeting after the meeting in the parking lot.
This evening, I would like to bring to the room some of the individuals who have helped to shape the vision from my leaderships and that of the Detroit People’s Platform. That has happened over the last six years, and in receiving this award, I lift up and honor their leadership and commitment to social justice as well.