See the story of how co-founders Mary Campos and Wayne Ford came together over 30 years ago to start the Brown And Black Forum.

Rep. Wayne Ford

Representative Wayne Ford

Ford’s rise from inner city Washington, D.C., to the Iowa Capitol has been chronicled by numerous media outlets. In 2001, award-winning journalist Dan Rather selected Ford’s unique life story for his best-selling book, The American Dream. In 1985, Ford founded Urban Dreams, a social service agency located in Des Moines, Iowa. When he was elected Iowa State Representative in 1996, he became only the tenth African-American in the state’s history to hold such a position and was the state’s longest serving black state legislator when he retired 14 years later.


Because of Iowa’s disproportionately high rate of black male incarceration, Ford authored landmark legislation during in 2008 which made Iowa the first state in the nation to require a minority impact statement with respect to both new criminal laws and state contracts. This landmark legislation was profiled by The Sentencing Project of Washington, D.C., and The National Law Journal.

Ford has been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame, including Rochester Community College’s Alumni Hall of Fame, Des Moines B’nai Brith Sports Hall of Fame, and the Iowa State African-American Hall of Fame. He’s received Drake University’s Double-D award for athletics and civic involvement, and the Shining Star Award from the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, an affiliate of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL). He also received the NBCSL Eagle Award for outstanding service to the organization in 2011 and he was appointed to Iowa’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Council and chair of its Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee in 2012.

Since 2011, Ford has hosted his own half hour weekly televised talk show, “Wayne Ford Wants U,” on Mediacom cable television.

Ford has been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame, including Rochester Community College’s Alumni Hall of Fame, Des Moines B’nai Brith Sports Hall of Fame, and the Iowa State African-American Hall of Fame. He’s received

Mary Campos

Mary Campos

Mary Dominguez Campos was born in McAlester, Oklahoma. As a child, her family moved to Des Moines, Iowa. There, she became an advocate for the rights of women and children, as well as helped to establish better relationships between people of diverse ethnic backgrounds.


Campos and several others formed the Iowa Democratic Hispanic Caucus in 1985, where she served as a caucus officer until 2010, when she became a member of the state Central Committee for four years. She was co-chair of the Polk County Democratic convention in 1992.

In 1995, she was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious “Otlei” award from the Secretary of Interior Mexican government, and the “Lifetime Achievement” award from the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. In 2007, she Leadership” award. In 2009, she and received the Toastmasters International “Communication and Wayne Ford were winners of The Des Moines Register’s prestigious Iowa Star Award for their work with the Brown & Black Forum and its role in maintaining Iowa’s “first in the nation” status. Mary has worked many years registering the voters for the Iowa Democratic Party and has worked on many campaigns. She also spends countless hours helping non-English speaking families who are relocating to central Iowa to become better informed about social and health issues, helping them to become United States citizens.