Magazine recognizes LULAC member Campos for community influence

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For immediate release

Aug. 7, 2013

DES MOINES - dsm magazine has named Mary Campos, a longtime community activist and member of the Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens, as one of its “Sages Over 70.”

Campos is one of six honorees, age 70 or older, who have been recognized as being an influential member of the Des Moines area community. She will be honored in the November issue of dsm magazine and at an event on Nov. 12.

“Mary has devoted her entire life to helping the well-being of others in Iowa,” said Joe Enriquez Henry, state director for LULAC of Iowa. “We are proud that others continue to respect and celebrate Mary’s hard work. We’re honored to have her serve as a leader in our organization and as a mentor to our youth.” 

Campos has a long history of being involved with and protecting the rights of Latinos, Latino youth and women in Iowa. The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute awarded her with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. She has been inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame and was the first co-chairwoman of the Iowa Brown-Black Presidential Forum, the only presidential forum in the country that addresses issues that affect the black and Hispanic communities in Iowa.

The Mexican government presented her with the Ohtli Award for her work in assisting Mexican immigrants. It is the highest honor given to an individual outside of Mexico.

Campos is a charter member of LULAC Council 307 in Des Moines, and was an original member of Council 308 when LULAC first formed in Des Moines. She has served on dozens of boards and commissions in Iowa, and ran for Des Moines City Council in the 1980s.

dsm magazine wrote that the individuals who are selected have made the Des Moines area better for all residents. “Perhaps most important, the Sages have mentored others over the decades, ensuring that their legacy of giving will continue to shape the city,” the magazine wrote about last year’s honorees.

Other Sage award recipients were: James Autry, an author, poet and former Meredith Corp. executive; Joy Corning, former lieutenant governor; E.J. Giovannetti, attorney and former member of the Polk County Board of Supervisors; Robert Larsen, founder and artistic director emeritus of Des Moines Metro Opera; and Neal Smith, former congressman who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 36 years.

Campos’ grandparents came to the United States from Mexico. Her parents were coal miners in Oklahoma who had to find new employment when the mines closed. Her family moved to northern Iowa. They were migrant workers who sometimes lived in the chicken coops of the families for whom they worked.

Founded in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens is the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the United States.

For more information, contact Joe Enriquez Henry at 515.208.7312; or Melissa Walker at 515.681.7731 or, or visit

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