Antonio Campos is the Vice President of the Sacramento ACT Board of Directors. He is a leader at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
How did you get involved in ACT?
I first became involved in ACT when I attended an ACT meeting at another church where we discussed Ceasefire and immigration issues.
I was excited to be part of a multi-racial and multi-faith organization and to see different denominations and religions working together. Prior to this I had worked only with Catholic groups. I remember being impressed to be working with Annie Fox, an organizer who is Jewish.
In ACT for the first time I found an organization that uses faith as the engine to drive action for social change to meet the needs of the people. I also saw an organization that knew how to leverage relationships to build power. I met powerful leaders and Board members who were focused on what they wanted to do, on getting things done.
I had been working on the Driver’s License issue for immigrants since 1999. I saw in ACT an organization that would fight for the issues of my community. If you are fighting for my community, then I am there with you 100%.
What issues have you worked on?
I have worked on many issues with ACT: Driver’s Licenses for immigrants, impounding cars, the Pilgrimage, sign-ups for health care under ACA, Health4All (healthcare for the undocumented), Proposition 47.
What was a moment when you realized the power of organizing?
We helped organize the Pilgrimage for Immigration Reform in 2013 and this was the moment. We organized an event to bless the pilgrims as they began their journey from Sacramento to Bakersfield and we had over 1,000 people attend. This is when I knew that this work is powerful. (link to website article) http://www.sacact.org/news?id=0010
I also saw our power in our work on Proposition 47. All of our hard work of organizing phone banking and making phone calls, even during the final game of the World Series with the Giants, paid off when Proposition 47 won.
What role does your faith play in your work with ACT?
I am inspired by Pope Francis and his revolution of inclusion. I am excited to see the Catholic church taking a role in meeting the needs of the people. This is the same work as our work in ACT.
How has your congregation’s involvement with ACT impacted your congregation?
It has revealed new leaders in our parish.
What would you say to someone who says ACT is just a political organization?
ACT is not a political organization. ACT is an organization that works on solutions to social problems, to situations that cause suffering in our communities. We use our faith as the source of our power to organize and make change and fight for justice.
What does it mean to be a faith-based organization? A multi-faith organization?
When we start from a place of faith, we learn to work together and to empower each other. We have conversations and learn to understand each other from the inside, not from the outside. As we work together on our common issues, we understandwhat God’s love means: God loves everyone, not just one group.
Why do you work with ACT?
I work with ACT because I believe we are trying to heal the pain of people, not just solve issues. Working with ACT becomes a source to empower my goals for my community with my faith, as well as to empower the goals of each other. Together we are powerful.
How have you grown and been challenged personally through your work with ACT?
I never used to speak in public before and it scared me. Now I speak in front of large meetings, give testimony, and speak to the media. I know the strength of what I have to say.
What is your vision of a healthy, thriving community?
A healthy community would not have part of its members suffering in poverty. People would be paid living wages, have regular medical care, and have access to education for their children. There would be a system by which immigrants could become citizens. Everyone would be cared for. When everyone feels that their needs are recognized this brings hope.
What is the role of ACT in Sacramento?
ACT can be the bridge between power and social needs to create justice. There is a very long list of needs, we can focus on a few things and when they are accomplished we can continue down the list. Little by little we can create change, and we can bring justice, always through the vision of our faith and principles.
How do you want people to reflect on ACT 10 years from now? What would you want them to say?
I would want them to say that 10 years ago we were a small group and now there are huge numbers of us working together and helping others, addressing our goals, and creating a better Beloved Community.