Ayanna Ade Johnson, known and respected as an activist, and a true friend to everyone who met her, died Friday morning May 23. “Mama Ayanna,” as she was known affectionately, having delivered over 2,000 babies as a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM), fought in the Black Power movement as a member of the Original Black Panther Party in both Oakland and the Houston Branch with other Party members like Carl Hampton, James Aaron, and Steve Edwards.
Looking at her life it becomes clear that she was a woman of great depth dedicated to a lifelong cause of social responsibility, leaving much to be admired. As a student completing undergrad work at Texas Southern University she joined the Houston Chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1972. In 1974 she went to Oakland, California where she joined the Oakland Panther chapter, teaching biology at the Oakland Community School and taking part in establishing the free breakfast program which has since been nationally adopted. She returned to Houston in 1978 where she continued to relentlessly serve people as a nurse, and upon receiving her Masters degree in Midwifery at Columbia University School of Nursing she set out on a career that has brought over 2000 babies into the world.
The lives of those committed to changing the world stand as proof that anything is possible, Ms.Ayanna expressed her drive and unconditional love for community by actively collaborating with organizations like the National Black United From, Shape Community Center, The Pastors for Peace Cuban Caravan, and the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement. She was a true naturalist who recycled frequently and was committed to reducing her carbon footprint often saying that she “was green before there was a green”.
Ms. Ayanna was a Houston native of integrity and compassion, who dedicated her life to oppressed people worldwide actively engaged with the Houston community selflessly. Her legacy will live on through her four children Yedidah, Roshi, Samora, and Kijana, her mother Girtha Johnson. Ayanna is also survived by her brother Henry Johnson, Jr. & sister, Thelda Faye Euwiley and the hundreds of babies she delivered, and the thousands of people she met and left affected during her life.
A ceremony celebrating her life will be held Friday, June 7 from 3-7 pm at SHAPE Community Center. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers contributions and donations be made to Yedidah Rose at Concerns for Motherhood. P.O. Box 14065, Houston, Tx. 77221