On Saturday, Aug. 8, the Golden Gate Village Resident Council presented a community celebration in honor of longtime activist Ocita Teal, who passed away on April 2, 2015 in Texas. An intimate gathering of family members and friends shared the many fond stories of Teal’s work in Marin City and her love for her family.
The ceremony included a tree dedication and installment of a plaque at an orchard in the local community garden on Cole Drive. Afterwards, everyone gathered for a BBQ potluck at the George Rocky Graham Park.
Rev. Emmanuel Akognon, Pastor of Village Baptist Church in Marin City, remembers Teal would help him with seeking and writing grants. “She was smart, intelligent, shared her knowledge and was always willing to help with open arms,” said Akognon.
Teal fought against issues that threatened to prevent Marin City residents from enjoying their basic human and civil rights and fearlessly spoke out before the Marin County Board of Supervisors and at Community Service District Meetings in Marin City, remembers Rev. Dr. James A. Noel, the former Pastor of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City, former Chair of the Marin City Community Development Corporation and the Multi-Service Center Board of Directors.
Teal worked with the Marin City Multi-Service Center from 1978 to 1983 where she provided services to Marin City and implemented a Community Garden, located adjacent to and in collaboration with St. Andrew Presbyterian Church (under then-Pastor Don Schilling).
“Ocita was a strong black woman and she was a committed Marin City community activist to the depths of her heart,” said Sharon Turner. “Whatever she set her mind to do, she didn’t stop until the job was complete.”
In 1980, Teal became the Coordinator for a larger vision, the MSC Marin City Community Garden & Food Coop Project, which was the first and only food co-op in the city. This program was operated from the offices of the Marin City Tenant’s Council. The program ordered dried and canned goods and vegetables in bulk from the community garden, allowing substantial food cost savings for Marin City families.
Teal also initiated the annual voter registration drives that occurred in Marin City from 1980 – 1995.
John Young, of Marin Grassroots, remembers Teal as a strong woman with a deep passion for the public housing residents in Marin City. Both Teal and Young were hired by the Marin City Community Development Corporation in 1979 and attended Community Organizing & Public Policy training together at SF State.
“Teal was smart, fierce and passionate in her work to help the Marin City Public housing residents. I personally believe she deserves to be honored posthumously in the Marin Women Hall of Fame,” said Young. “A lot of beauty came out of her work.”