The most powerful moment of my life was when I developed a strong community relationship and became a community leader, working in the communities of San Francisco and Oakland – Katherine Campbell.
Ms. Campbell’s journey into community leadership and service began in 1969. She had received a scholarship to Miami University and left San Francisco for Miami, Florida. Less than a year after leaving for Miami, she moved back to San Francisco and committed to serving the community. She received political education from the Black Panther Party (BPP) and was a member of BPP from 1969 – 1978.
To serve the community effectively, Ms. Campbell acquired skills and certifications. As a member of BPP, she received an Associate Degree in social sciences from Laney College. She went on to study Civil Engineering at San Francisco State University and Family Counseling and Eviction Defense at UC Berkeley. She got her counseling certification from UC Berkeley.
In line with her purpose and passion, Ms. Campbell’s career was centered around community leadership and service. After her education, she took an internship at S.F. County Jail at 850 Bryant for its pre-release program. In this position, she provided counseling for inmates to help find housing placement and readjust to life after incarceration. She also interned at Juli House as a counselor for young pregnant women, providing assessment and counseling and helping them prepare for motherhood and independent living.
As a counselor for Mission Housing, Ms. Campbell worked on the transitional housing program for homeless people by providing counseling and other supportive services. She was also a case manager and counselor for the Family Service Agency.
Katherine Campbell was part of BPP during the development of its 10-point service plan and supported the Sickle Cell Anemia program. She was also an active part of BPP’s projects, Seniors Against a Fearful Environment and Oakland Community School. Oakland Community School was one of the best accredited alternative schools. Ms. Campbell was also part of the free breakfast project of the party in Fillmore, San Francisco. In 2019, she commemorated the 50th year anniversary of the establishment of Black Panther Party breakfast program serving hunger kids.
From when she was a young child and every member of her family played roles towards a common goal and then all through her life, Ms. Campbell has seen how teamwork is essential for productivity. She is a strong believer in the values of teamwork. In her words, “It took all of us to work out a plan: a whole team, I, my mom, and siblings, contributed in sustaining the home and maintaining the family as important building blocks.” She also believes that teamwork inspires ownership describing that as, a young child, it was “exciting to know that we can have some ownership through teamwork.”
As someone who makes decisions after carefully thinking them through, Ms. Campbell's top pieces of advice for anyone are: take advice from your elders, stay focused, look before you leap into things, and let your dreams of ownership materialize. Katherine Campbell summarizes her life’s journey in the pursuit of happiness as “If you put your mind to it; then, you can do it.” In her words, “I have learned that life is a building block; you have to build up to it because I find it instrumental in accomplishing goals.”