Hundreds of family and friends packed First AME Church for her service
Clear blue skies, a slight breeze to the east and the sun beamed down on Friday, August 8th at the home going services for Brenda Marsh-Mitchell. At any given moment the reflection of the sun could be seen gleaming across the line of black cars parked in front of First African Methodist Episcopal Church. Entering into the church, some would believe it was a joyous event being held due to the atmosphere being set with gospel music like “Oh Happy Day” playing softly in the background. Purple roses shaped in Brenda’s name stood at the alter with photos of her and family placed across the bottom of the stage.
Friends, family, local politicians and advocates sat and filled the dark wood pews to pay their respects to Brenda at the public viewing. A soft chatter could be heard throughout the church as people embraced each other with hugs and soft smiles. Two projectors displayed pictures of her career and personal life while people mingled.
At the start of service the pastors, service speakers and Mitchell family members walked down the middle aisle to the front of the chapel where their designated seating was reserved. Rev. J Edgar Boyd opened up the service with prayer and Rev. Chip Murray officiated the remainder of the service.
Brenda’s two grandsons Kennedy Zaire Mitchell-Egbo and Mitchell Eugene Thomas gave a humorous recollection of memories lived with their grandmother. Followed by her daughters Tracy, Pamela and Tamela Mitchell who paid tribute to their mother’s life.
Family friend and R&B singer Brandy Norwood performed a special musical presentation of “His Eye is on The Sparrow.” Executive Vice President and C.O.O. of Bakewell Media, Pamela Bakewell, read letters addressed to the Mitchell family from former President Bill Clinton and Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti expressing the importance of Brenda’s lifetime work.
Brenda was the real deal. She’s a woman you can’t forget,” Bishop T. Larry Kirkland of First AME said. “The only thing that matters is your relationship with God and Brenda had that. I know Brenda is with God organizing and getting things together.”
In many ways Brenda’s success story contributed to the high regard many people had for her life and that was truly expressed during the service.
There are a lot of folks out there with talents unrealized. Thank you Danny Sr. for seeing that talent in Brenda. She was a special woman with special talent. She was filled with passion. I love the fact that she was tough and she would do what she had to do to help the community,” U.S. Representative (CA) Maxine Waters expressed.
“Brenda lived life with extreme purpose. She never missed a beat. Brenda was that person who was always organizing and conducting a production or event. The beauty about how she approached things was that she made it seem like we all contributed to the event, but we all know she was the one who pulled it together. I have no doubt that she is watching over us all,” said 32nd Attorney General (CA) Kamala Harris.
During the service local officials and representatives had an opportunity to express their sentiments about Brenda and her contributions to the South Los Angeles community. Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr., announced during this time the creation of Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Square on King and Coliseum. “Brenda didn’t owe us anything. We owe her everything for the work she did,” said L.A. Unified Board candidate George McKenna.
In a somber voice with black shades on, Los Angeles Sentinel Publisher Danny Bakewell Sr., walked to the podium and fought back tears while he expressed his thoughts about Brenda. “This is not comfortable. I wasn’t going to speak, but here I am,” he explained. “Most of my life had been with Brenda. 45 years ago I met her and she was everything to me, but my wife. She meant everything to me. She was a force of nature and truly a phenomenal woman. We enjoyed each other and when it came time to execute tasks we were a dynamic duo. If Brenda couldn’t go in I couldn’t go in. In our 45 years working together there was never an assignment she didn’t carry out.”One of the most evident things from the service is knowing that the dash between her birthday and her last day of life were spent inspiring and improving the community. Her affect on the community showed in numbers and in passion by how highly people spoke about her.
Closing the service, Reverend Jesse Jackson delivered the eulogy stating, “She was a package of integrity. Trustworthy and many other things. Everyone isn’t necessarily a leader, but she was a servant leader. To do less than your best is a sin and she exceeded her best. Brenda had a mission and worked by objectives. She was trustworthy soul. So, goodnight sweet Brenda and good morning heaven. We’ll see you soon.”
Pallbearers matching in purple ties and light purple roses pinned to their suits with white gloves slowly rolled out her gold casket into the sunlit street and placed her into the last car ride she would ever take. LAPD led the motorcade to Inglewood Cemetery where she finally met her eternal resting place.