Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today: Di’Andre Campbell, Using His Gifts in True Service

by Marcus Harden

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.

“Stop thinking about the damn wall! There is no wall. There are only bricks. Your job is to lay this brick perfectly. Then move on to the next brick. Then lay that brick perfectly. Then the next one. Don’t be worrying about no wall. Your only concern is the one brick.”

—Will Smith

I watch a lot of HGTV for a person who can barely (and I mean barely) put together a small table from IKEA. I’m fascinated by those who can walk into a space and bring their vision to life — building, renovating, and creating a place for people to truly call home.

An old parable tells us that our body is a temple, and through the art of training and teaching, Di’Andre Campbell is not only a master builder but also a skilled renovator of the human condition.

Photo depicting Di'Andre Campbell holding a placard with his photo and name and title of University of Washington Athletic Scholar.
Di’Andre Campbell. Photo courtesy of Rise Up for Students.

Born and raised in Oakland by a loving and proud family, Di’Andre spent his formative years engaging in myriad activities — through church and sports, his life seemingly always centered around community and the blending of athletics. He would find a part of himself while becoming a standout wide receiver on the gridiron at Oakland Technical High School.

What has always made Di’Andre so unique is that long before it was a catchphrase, he was always more than just an athlete. His athletic talents would take him on full scholarship to the University of Washington, the greatest school in the history of all mankind (I have creative license, so it must be true).

While he continued to excel on the field at UW, it was off the field that his true impact on the community could be found. To meet Di’Andre is to meet a constant wanderer, a helpful and judgment-free ear that you can tell is truly invested in his own growth and in supporting others while on his journey. Di’Andre chose to amplify his service by joining Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., adding another brick to his burgeoning foundation.

In those years, you would find Di’Andre playing his heart out on the field on Saturday, and yet you could still find him on Sunday morning engaging in community through church (even guest ministering) and sharing his time in community. During the week, balancing his busy schedule, Di’Andre managed to find success in the academic space as well, double-majoring in political science and communications.

Upon graduating from the University of Washington, Di’Andre would live a portion of his dreams, signing on as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers, proving that you can indeed go home again. For Di’Andre, though, it was just a platform to grow into purpose.

Di’Andre currently is the founder and cultivator of Warrior Academy and DC Training — one organization committed to the skill-building of young athletes in sport and in life, and the other committed to helping anyone and everyone in the community to better their health and wellness.

When we hear the phrase “more than just an athlete,” it’s men like Di’Andre who truly help shift those paradigms. Whether lending his voice and presence to local schools, promoting wellness, celebrating discovery through travel or just sharing an encouraging word with a student, athlete, or friend, Di’Andre lives as an uplifting, authentically positive force — just by being himself and giving accordingly.

Di’Andre has taken his experiences and his growth and used his life in service to others. He’s continually searching for ways to help the people around him — mentally, physically, and spiritually. He is indeed more than just an athlete. He is Black History Today!

Marcus Harden is a seasoned educator, with experience as a teacher, counselor, dean, administrator, and program and policy manager. Marcus focuses his work on creating better culture and climate for students, families, and staff. He believes deeply in restorative justice practices and in mindset and resiliency work that leads to excellent and equitable educational outcomes for all students.

📸 Featured image by Devin Chicras for the Emerald.

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