LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Asia Atkinson says her mother, Erica Brown-Atkinson, found her calling early and worked hard to become a teacher.
“My mom just has a heart for wanting to help people out and teaching was really her calling,” Asia said.
Atkinson was born and raised in Compton and wanted to be a mentor to children in her community and inner city. She accomplished that with fifth-graders at Charles Barrett Elementary School.
“Mom really touched a lot of her students and really encouraged them to keep going and not let their circumstances or environment, dictate, or other people dictate where they end up in life,” Asia said.
Atkinson’s life was cut short in late December after she passed away from COVID-19 complications.
Asia says her mom didn’t show any symptoms before they found her passed out at home in early November. The 50-year-old was put on a ventilator and she later suffered three massive strokes.
“So basically, off of a ventilator, my mom would have no quality of life,” Asia said.
Atkinson spent her entire 18-year teaching career at Charles Barrett Elementary School teaching fifth grade.
Her daughter said she finds comfort hearing how well-loved and respected her mom was by her students and colleagues.
“One of her students, when she passed away, reached out and said my mom inspired her to strive for a career in education and she just got certified to be a teacher,” said Asia.
Asia said her mother had type 2 diabetes but recently lost weight and got off her medications. She doesn’t know where or how Atkinson contracted the virus, but she hopes people will hear their story and understand their loss.
“Just be cautious, be vigilant, wear your mask, stay safe and keep your loved ones safe as well,” she said.
Atkinson leaves behind her daughter and her husband.
Asia said she is in school working to become a pediatrician.
If you’d like to help with the family’s funeral and education expenses, a GoFundMe for Brown-Atkinson can be found here.