The Reverend Hilda Campbell is a trailblazer, by any measure. Her resume reads as a remarkable list of accomplishments. In the world of work, Hilda stands out as a leader among women taking on occupations once deemed “men’s work,” opening doors for others to challenge discrimination based on gender. She was the first female in Carpenter’s Local 626 and one of the few to supervise a maintenance crew in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 1238. For eighteen years, Hilda coached and managed Chester Youth Baseball League. In the 1990s, Hilda served as Director of the Nehemiah Philadelphia Project, where she supervised and instructed trainees and oversaw the reconstruction of 250 housing units. And, in recognition of her groundbreaking efforts on behalf of women in construction trades, Hilda took part in a trip with 22 tradeswomen to the former Soviet Union sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Her commitment to service in the Chester community is equally notable. A graduate of Manna Bible College, Hilda has served as pastor for three churches in Chester and two in Philadelphia. She chaperoned youth from across the US on mission trips to South Africa and Nigeria in 2006. She was Director of Human Relations & Leadership at the United Methodist Conference between 2004 and 2010, where she also led an anti-racism program. More recently, Hilda teaches Cultural Proficiency to teaching candidates at Widener University. She serves as Secretary for the Chester Police Chaplain Corp and the National Congress of Black Women.
Following the tragic death of her grandson, Jamar, Reverend Hilda addressed the problem of gun violence and, in June 2021, she founded Chester Heals, a program to help those impacted by violence to grieve and heal. Her story speaks to strength and power in the face of sorrow.
Reverend Hilda joined us at the YES Center’s 2022 Celebration of Women Change Makers event in Chester, where she shared her ongoing motivation to work for social justice.
Ms. Hilda Campbell, performance of “Growing Up Female,” TOVA Theater.