April 13, 1947 – August 3, 2014
In all the work you are doing, WORK THE BEST YOU CAN. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord not for the People – Colossians 3:23
Brenda Marsh-Mitchell was a woman of God and a woman who dedicated her life to serving others. She did not do it for fortune or fame. She worked for the Glory of God, for the betterment of her people and out of a Love for her community like few who have come before her.
You may or may not have met Brenda Marsh-Mitchell but If you or someone you know has attended the Taste of Soul Family Festival, received school supplies at the annual Back to School Family Day, shared a hot meal at “Friends Serving Friends” on Skid Row at Thanksgiving or Christmas Day; received or donated a toy for a child or a gift for a senior citizen during the holidays, registered to vote in a national, statewide or local election, was counted in the census, attended a rally to fight against oppression and for justice for African Americans, your life has been touched by Brenda Marsh-Mitchell.
All of these accomplishments and many more is the life of service lived by one of our community’s most active local treasures. Brenda was a woman of love, of joy who served her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with every breath of her being. For over 40 years she spent her life serving the community and people she loved. Brenda was a woman who relished in the work of the community not for her own glory, but for the success of the community to which she dedicated her life. Our community was much better because of her work.
That is why when word came that Ms. Brenda (as she was so affectionately known) had passed away from cardiac failure on August 3, 2014 our community and people throughout the country were shocked, saddened and dismayed. On Saturday, August 2, 2014 Brenda was rushed to Verdugo Hills Hospital and immediately rushed into emergency surgery. While doctors and medical staff did everything within their power to help her, her Lord called her home on Sunday Morning, August 3 at 12:55 a.m.
Like so many community locals, well-wishers from near and far have all sent words of encouragement to the family and all have their own unique experiences of Ms. Brenda. “Brenda always treated me like a nephew. Kicking my butt when I needed it! Hugging me when I least expected it,” stated Martin Ludlow.
Brenda was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. She was the mother of three lovely daughters Pamela, Tamela and Tracy who she thought the world of. The Lord Blessed her with two wonderful grandsons Kennedy Mitchell-Egbo(8) and Mitchell Thomas (6), and one son in law, Patrick Nwobodo. Brenda was a lifelong Democrat and a life member of the New Frontier Democratic Club. She was a pioneer in the business of street organizing, she was a leader and one of the best community organizers in the business. What drove Brenda and gave her strength was her commitment to GOD, her family and the community.
Brenda worked for over 40 years at the side of community leader, community activist, businessman and Sentinel Executive Publisher Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. Together they established a dynamic duo who were as comfortable walking the streets of Compton, Watts and South Los Angeles as they were the halls of Washington D.C. or the corporate board rooms of some of Walls Street’s largest firms. “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. She is the most influential person in my religious, community, business and professional life. I will miss you greatly” Stated Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. – Chairman and Executive Publisher of The Los Angeles Sentinel.
Brenda was also the co-founder with her dear friend Lillian Mobley of Mothers in Action. She also served as the organization’s president and CEO. Mothers in Action’s motto was “We Pray, We Vote, We take care of our families and we take care of our community”. This motto was truly the motto that Brenda Marsh-Mitchell patterned her life by. Under her direction Mothers in Action planned and organized Thanksgiving Day Senior Feed for over 15 years from Ward Villa Senior Apartment Complex. Thousands of seniors and sick and shut in residents received hot meals on Thanksgiving Day. MIA spearheaded ten years of phenomenal Back to School Health-Fair Extravaganzas in the Los Angeles area. These amazing family events provided free health screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, vision, hearing and dental hygiene to thousands of low income children and their families as well as distributed thousands of backpacks, notebooks, pens, paper, lunch bags, gift certificates, dictionaries and school uniforms.
Brenda also coordinated outreach activities for several Census counts to help increase participation in undercounted communities. She helped over 150 individuals to obtain temporary employment, she provided outreach services to over 100,000 people in the Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Compton communities.
She worked tirelessly to provide career fairs to our community, bringing state employment opportunities to the Los Angeles area. She has successfully provided mentoring, community service, tutorial, economic and career development opportunities for thousands of children and their families for the past several years through town-hall meetings, community feeds, marches and rallies
Brenda is the recipient of numerous awards including Mother of Year, Woman of the Year, and awards for her community service efforts. Brenda has always worked unselfishly and modestly quietly giving of her time and talent in the fight to improve the quality of life for her family and her community.