Marita Garrett '04
Called to Public Service
In January 2014, Marita Garrett was sworn in as a Councilwoman for Wilkinsburg Borough. As a member and Vice-President of Council, Marita was instrumental in seeking and receiving over $2 million in grant revenue for the Borough. Recognizing a need to increase community engagement, she started “Wilkinsburg Community Conversations” to connect and empower residents to work together for neighborhood improvement. From there, she co-founded Free Store Wilkinsburg to assist community members in addressing emergent needs.
In 2017, after being elected Mayor, she reinstated the Public Safety Forums to highlight updates in the Wilkinsburg Police Department and provides an opportunity for community members to express their safety concerns. In 2017 she was named “Young Democrat of the Year” from the Allegheny County Democratic Committee; and selected to attend the NextCity Vanguard conference held in Newcastle, Australia.
Outside of her political career, Marita is Founder/President of CIVICALLY, INC, an umbrella nonprofit organization that focuses on community development by promoting civic and social literacy to instill self-reliance. In addition to Free Store Wilkinsburg and Community Conversations, she has established Fresh Market and initiatives for health education, urban farming, and others. Largely influential for the renewed interest in Wilkinsburg’s revitalization, she was awarded the Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence for Promoting Community & Economic Revitalization in 2020.