October 23, 2014

 

By Brian W. Carter]

Contributing Writer

Local officials, clergy, family and community came to support the dedication of the Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Square at the corner of Coliseum and Crenshaw. The bittersweet occasion paid homage to a woman who wasn’t afraid to raise her voice for her community and the disenfranchised.

 

The dedication saw some of Marsh-Mitchell’s closest friends, city officials, family and community come out for the event. The impressive of notables included Los Angeles Council President Herb Wesson, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Councilman Curren Price, Senatorial candidate Isadore Hall, Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Los Angeles Unified School District Seat 1 Board Member Dr. George McKenna, Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of First A.M.E., Pastor Kelvin Sauls of Holmon United Methodist Church, General Manager of Economic Development Jan Perry, former city controller Wendy Greuel and many other local officials, businesses, representatives and community.

 

Wesson announced at Marsh-Mitchell’s home-going services that the city of Los Angeles would be honoring her by naming the site of her Taste of Soul festival headquarters in her memory.  As in previous years, this event will attract hundreds of thousands of residents from across the city and county of Los Angeles. The Brenda Marsh Mitchell Gospel Stage will make its official debut at the 9th Annual Taste of Soul (TOS) on Saturday, October 18, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with performances by dynamic gospel performers.

 

Marsh-Mitchell was the co-founder with her dear friend Lillian Mobley of Mothers in Action (MIA), win which she also served as the organization’s president and CEO.  She truly believed in community service and in giving back.  Marsh-Mitchell planned and organized numerous events throughout the year including the Thanksgiving Day feeding seniors at Ward Villa Senior Apartment Complex for over 15 years, spearheading ten years of back-to-school health-fairs in the Los Angeles and making kids dreams come true at countless Christmas toy giveaways.

 

She worked for over 40 years with community leader, community activist, businessman and Sentinel Executive Publisher, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. Together they tackled the hard hitting issues that plagued the Black community and were unceasing as voices of the community.

 

Both of Marsh-Mitchell’s grandsons spoke touching words about their grandmother and opened the dedication along with Bakewell Sr. All who spoke had encouraging, uplifting and loving words to say about Marsh-Mitchell and the legacy she leaves behind. A few of the attendees offered some thoughts about Marsh-Mitchell and the tribute to her life— the Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Square.

 

“Brenda… she’s obviously a social and community icon to our community,” said Hall. “I think this is just a small token of our demonstration for Brenda.

 

“Clearly, I believe a name on the street or a square does not reflect the level of work, commitment, dedication she has provided, not just to women but to youth and the community as a whole.”

 

“She’s smiling up there,” said Greuel. She spent a lot of time on this corner, in the community, this neighborhood. She was the heart and soul of Taste of Soul. She was a special woman—she left us too early.”

 

“She was a sound, solid woman the likes of what we rarely see,” said columnist Larry Aubry. She was there when the community was there—at all times.”

 

“The only thing that would make it better is if Brenda was actually here to see it,” said Perry. “I still miss her every single day and know we’re really going to miss her this weekend at Taste of Soul.”

 

“This is a person I have known for a very long time that truly, truly cared about the underserved and especially people who were formally incarcerated,” said Jones-Sawyer.

 

“One of the scriptures that I always use with families is God has the ability to turn your mourning into dancing,” said Sauls. “Today is a day of dancing and rejoicing.”

 

“It’s kind of a bittersweet occasion after all the great work she has done in the community,” said Boyd. “It’s the right thing to do—it’s a great thing to do but it would be so much better, in retrospect, if she were here to suck in this day…so we’re here to just add this little marker over this little part of the geography of Los Angeles to say ‘Brenda Marsh-Mitchell was here and did a great job’.”

 

“It’s bittersweet,” said Rosalyn Brookins, Pastor of Walker Temple AME Church. “Because of her legacy and because of what she has done for this community, for me individually as her friend, I celebrate with all who showed up today.

 

“I celebrate her life, her legacy, her memory and it is my prayer that I will be able to do what she’s done and carry the torch further for this community.”

 

“Brenda’s loyalty and dedication to me is unparalleled.  Her unquestioning commitment has served as the vessel for every success we’ve had from Taste of Soul, to the Brotherhood Crusade, to The Sentinel to The Bakewell Company,” said Bakewell, Sr.

Category: Community



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