After four decades years of service, the unofficial mayor of the section of Atlanta in DeKalb County has retired.
At the time of her retirement earlier this summer, Sarah Fitten worked as the liaison for community and government relations for the Fulton-Atlanta Community Action Authority, a safety net organization that assists residents with emergency needs.
Fitten stood on the front lines of community involvement for many years, acting as the unofficial mayor of the Atlanta-DeKalb area, DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson said.
The Board of Commissioners recently recognized Fitten with a resolution and a day in her honor.
During her career, Fitten “guided and strengthened so many families who did not have the proper things for them to live,” Johnson said. Fitten can be directly credited with the expansion of the DeKalb Atlanta Human Services center.
“My mother has been a true champion,” said daughter Yolanda Fitten. “She has sacrificed a lot for her family, her church and her county.”
Her son Joseph Fitten Jr., said, “She’s loved every minute of it. She’s been the spearhead of a lot of good stuff for this county.”
A resident of the Edgewood community, Sarah Fitten is credited with working with hundreds of children, teaching them how to vote and get ready for jobs. She intervened in school problems and nurtured students into adulthood.
Sarah Fitten was an advocate and community organizer for a long list of projects and initiatives, including senior citizen centers, day care programs, community libraries, the MARTA rail system, a Grady Hospital satellite clinic and the annual Edgewood Day Festival.
Additionally, she has served on more than a dozen professional organizations, including the Early Head Start policy advisory board, advisory board of the DeKalb branch of the United Way and the DeKalb County NAACP.
“Wherever there was a problem …they would call Sarah Fitten and she would try to make some things happen,” Fitten said.
“It’s not about Sarah,” Fitten said. “It’s about the people that Sarah has helped. I’m a servant for the people. It’s not about me. I’m a servant for the least these.”
“This woman is phenomenal,” said Joyce Dorsey, CEO of Fulton-Atlanta Community Action Authority. “I don’t know what we are going to do without her.”
Sarah Fitten said she will continue to be involved in the community.
“I’m retired but I’m not gone,” Sarah Fitten said. “I don’t have to ask Ms. Dorsey or get permission get from Ms. Dorsey now to get out here and hold up a picket sign and do what I need to do when I see some wrong things.”