Damita Davis-Howard was born and raised in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. At the age of 17, her family moved to Oakland. She later married the late William Howard, her high school sweetheart, and became First Lady at First Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, where she is now assistant pastor. Deeply committed to her East Oakland community, Damita has always given back. From her work as a welfare eligibility worker to her 19 years fighting for workers’ rights in the union movement to her leadership on the weekly night walks that are part of OCO’s Live Free campaign, Reverend Damita’s life has always been guided by love. Working with OCO provides her an opportunity to unite her two passions–her faith and her commitment to social, racial and economic justice. Through it all, Damita has always found time to bring together friends and family, most especially her beautiful children–drawing them around the table to savor her world-class gumbo and other fine cuisine.

(Written by Katy Nuñez-Adler)