A loving farewell to Anita Labossiere, champion of environmental justice

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Anita Labossiere

Anita Corine Sanderson-Labossiere, beloved mother, caring grandmother, dedicated daughter, loving sister and friend, departed on Thursday, Feb. 22, at the age of 62.

Anita was born “Nita” on Feb. 27, 1955, in St. Petersburg, Florida to Nathaniel and Willie Mae Sanderson. As a child of a military family, Anita was introduced to a world of travel and diverse cultures. Growing up, she was very athletic, especially involved in swimming.

While attending Notre Dame High School in St. Petersburg, she was active in a number of community organizations, fighting against racism and injustice – just like her mom, Willie Mae. She was known for her strength and passion to stand up for what’s right.

Anita attended the University of Maryland and studied Marine Biology. While there, she was active in various clubs and associations. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 1978.

Following graduation, she returned to live in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she worked in a water quality lab. After a year, she moved to California to pursue her goals.

Despite numerous barriers of racism and sexism in her chosen field, her passion for science never diminished. Anita was determined – and fought back. Throughout her career, she struggled to overcome all obstacles in her path.

She was active as a rank-and-file union member of IFPTE Local 21, as well as in a number of other organizations. Among those, Anita was very passionate about one in particular, the Shafter Avenue Community Club, a community organization dedicated to environmental justice in the Bayview Hunters Point District in San Francisco.

In 1982, Anita married her long-time boyfriend, Pierre Labossiere. While they would eventually get divorced, their union produced a daughter, Ayana, and a life-long friendship. Anita was a loving mom, who loved her daughter very deeply. She always valued Ayana’s education and exposed her to a variety of different academic opportunities. She also loved to travel and experience other cultures and encouraged her daughter to see the world and learn new languages.

Anita leaves to cherish her memories a loving daughter, Ayana Labossiere Burks; a son-in-law, Nathan Burks; and three grandchildren, Imahni Burks, Khai Burks and Prism Burks.

She is also survived by two sisters, Hazel Randall of Baltimore, Maryland, Constance Bailey of St. Petersburg, Florida; one brother, Nathaniel Sanderson II of Columbus, Georgia; two brothers-in-law, Dr. Louis Randall and Dr. Joseph Richardson; and many loving nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. As she passes, she joins her older sister, Betty Jo Richardson, and her parents, Willie Mae Sanderson and Nathaniel Sanderson Sr.

She is also much loved by her extended family, Pierre Labossiere (ex-husband), Maria Labossiere, Shanga Labossiere and Malaika Labossiere, her loving circle at Rose Gate Assisted Living and her many friends in the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area.

We’d like to express our gratitude and condolences to the following families: Sanderson, McClain, Richardson, Randall, Bailey, Labossiere and Burks.

The memorial service will be held Sunday, March 4, 2 p.m., at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.