In loving memory of Mike Brown

Mike Brown, heart and soul of Inner City Youth, was devoted to giving youngsters a bright future. – Photo: Francisco Da Costa
Mike Brown, heart and soul of Inner City Youth, was devoted to giving youngsters a bright future. – Photo: Francisco Da Costa

Community activist, retired civil service employee and U.S. Navy veteran, we have lost a great man. Michael went on to live with the Lord.

His memory and legacy of helping others and claiming their self-worth is immeasurable. For those of us for­tunate enough to know Mike, failure was not an option. He never gave up on life, people or family!

Two days after SFPD gunned down Kenneth Harding in Mendell Plaza in Bayview Hunters Point, Mesha Irizarry organized a press conference to demand justice, and Mike Brown brought his Inner City Youth crew to show support. Mike and his youngsters surround Mesha and Sharen Hewitt. – Photo: Malaika H Kambon
Two days after SFPD gunned down Kenneth Harding in Mendell Plaza in Bayview Hunters Point, Mesha Irizarry organized a press conference to demand justice, and Mike Brown brought his Inner City Youth crew to show support. Mike and his youngsters surround Mesha and Sharen Hewitt. – Photo: Malaika H Kambon

Michael strongly agreed with Malcolm X that “If we can’t talk about the problems in our community, then we are the problems in our community.”

Michael was a doer. After retiring from Muni, Michael founded Inner City Youth (ICY) and became that visible leader in the OMI community, a spokesman for those who were underrepresented and underserved. His focus was to advocate for economic development amongst San Francisco’s Black community and make ICY a place where the youth could nourish their minds academically and achieve their goals.

He wanted them to feel safe, productive and loved. That was his vision – not to strive for perfection but toward something more achievable: excellence!

Michael will forever be missed by those of us he leaves behind. He was preceded in death by his parents Dan Brown and Marie A. Humphrey; his brother, Roderick R. Farmer; and the tragic death of his eldest son, Otto Brown.

Johntay Allen, Mike Brown and Brett Walker picket the Ingleside Library construction site in May 2008. At that point, it had been a full decade since Blacks were locked out of construction in San Francisco in 1998. – Photo: Lee Hubbard
Johntay Allen, Mike Brown and Brett Walker picket the Ingleside Library construction site in May 2008. At that point, it had been a full decade since Blacks were locked out of construction in San Francisco in 1998. – Photo: Lee Hubbard

Michael is survived by his wife of 35 years, Meli T. Brown; his daughters, Gwendolyn Z. and Luella A. Brown; and his youngest son, James M. Brown; his grandchildren, Marley, Santana, Ky’Mani and Yazmin Brown; Trinity, Tashay, Brandon, Dexter and Demanuel; his aunt, Gwendolyn Z. Austin; his sister, Haroldlyn Farmer-Chalk; his nieces and nephews; his cousins and extended family and friends. He will be missed by many who looked upon him as a father figure, a leader, a friend and a man of peace.

To preserve the life and legacy of Mr. Michael L. Brown, Inner City Youth will be renamed Michael L. Brown Community Center and a scholarship fund will be established in his honor.

Michael L. Brown was born Tuesday, March 1, 1955, in Jacksonville, Florida, and died Sunday, June 12, 2016, in San Francisco, California, at age 61.

To my dearest father

by Gwendolyn Zackery Brown

Thank you for making it. Thank you for shaping my mind, my ambition and my heart. You and Mom have always been my heroes and, although I’m feeling a little lost without you here, I know things will be OK.

I promise to honor your memory and uphold your name. I hope that while you were here, you knew how much I loved you and admired the man you were. You always made your children feel loved and like we had a place in the world.

Dr. Willie Ratcliff, Bay View publisher and owner of Liberty Builders, campaigning for a greater role for Blacks in school construction, testified at a School Board meeting, backed by fellow contractors Charlie Walker and Muhammad al-Kareem and by Mike Brown, whose sign tells a fundamental truth, “Black contracts for Black jobs!” – Photo: Ken Johnson
Dr. Willie Ratcliff, Bay View publisher and owner of Liberty Builders, campaigning for a greater role for Blacks in school construction, testified at a School Board meeting, backed by fellow contractors Charlie Walker and Muhammad al-Kareem and by Mike Brown, whose sign tells a fundamental truth, “Black contracts for Black jobs!” – Photo: Ken Johnson

Because of you, we KNOW what is possible. I can hear your voice telling me, “GZB, take care of your mom, Lue, James and all my grandkids. Make sure they graduate from college. I got you guys this far and now you gotta take it to the next level.”

My father was a great man who leaves a legacy of service, com­munity and taking pride in providing for your family and your people. My dad had a big heart and helped so many people throughout his life.

He was of the community and gave himself to the people. He was very humble, very proud and, even if he was struggling, he kept pushing.

I hope that the lives he touched will remember him and honor his memory by sharing love and peace with their children and the community. A Salaam Alaikum, Rasheed Kareem Salaam.

Love you, dad!