Cati Hawkins-Okorie

Cati Hawkins-Okorie was born in San Francisco in her parent’s bedroom. She has many stories to share about growing up in Bayview, and a perspective shaped by being tightly involved in her community.


Cati Hawkins-Okorie

Born in San Francisco
66 years old
Mother is a descendant of the Muscogee Creek Nation

A young woman with a big heart grows up in Bayview

Cati likens the community she grew up in to village life. Everybody knew everybody — and they all worked to help each other out. Her mother was a stay-at-home mom who babysat for other women who needed childcare. She later worked evenings at in-home house care, and then became a CNA (orderly). A devout Christian, Cati and her siblings were raised with a strong sense of right and wrong.

Cati was pregnant with her second child the day Matthew Johnson was shot. After that, she says, everything changed. The riots on 3rd Street were marked by looting and violent clashes with the police. The neighborhood was on edge — it wasn’t safe for children to be out at night anymore, and things continued to spiral out of control until the military was called. It was then, Cati says, that the mothers of the community got involved.

Though she’s been retired from her job as a community advocate for over six years now, Cati is still very involved in her neighborhood. She believes that for the community to heal, people need to get back to their roots.

“We need our culture back.”