On Thursday, September 29, the Long Beach Post hosted an event to honor young people from around the city who are doing great things to better their community and beyond. Out of hundreds of nominations from our readers, judges chose 40 winners, representing a range of professions and activism. The Post will be profiling each honoree in the coming days.
An activist-theologian, Benjamin Camp, 30, was nominated as someone striving to bring social justice and equality to the Long Beach community. As the director of community ministries at Belmont Heights United Methodist Church, Camp uses his position to teach, guide and mentor youth and the congregation as a whole.
“[...]I felt extremely honored and humbled to be recognized as someone doing good work for our Long Beach community,” said Camp. “I love this city, I love the people, and I want to see it be a place where all can be empowered to flourish, especially those who often get pushed to the margins. All of my work flows from my conviction as a person of faith that God is inviting all of us to participate wherever we are at in the work of building a more whole and beautiful world.”
Currently, Camp is working with a coalition from Long Beach to pass Claudia’s law, a move that would protect the city’s hotel workers from mistreatment. He is also working on Belmont Heights Make a Difference Day, a day of service coming up on March 26.
“This award has been an important reminder to continue the work that I am doing,” said Camp. “I am inspired to continue working to build a Long Beach that is richly diverse, ecologically sustainable, and socially equitable.”
The activist is also interested in exploring Long Beach’s location between the San Gabriel and Los Angeles River Watersheds and “what this might mean for the work of building a bioregional movement of ecological sustainability and justice,” he said.
“I always try to remember that history does not just happen,” said Camp. “Life isn't inevitable. It is the product of our collective struggle for a better world.”