New York City Council Member Rita Joseph was elected in 2021 to represent Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Kensington, Ditmas Park, and Southern Crown Heights. Before serving in the City Council, Ms. Joseph was a public school teacher, a community activist, and a proud union member.
After immigrating to the U.S. from Haiti in her youth, Ms. Joseph began her life of advocacy. At just 19 years old, she organized her first rally with a group she founded, Haitian Enforcement Against Racism, in order to protest the FDA’s discriminatory “bad blood” rules that prevented people of Haitian descent from donating blood. The rally succeeded in its mission, and the FDA rescinded the racist rule.
Since organizing the rally, which had more than 150,000 people participate, Ms. Joseph hasn’t looked back with her activism. Despite being a teen mom who was only able to attend college because of a full tuition scholarship, Ms. Joseph spent her twenties raising her children while organizing protests against police brutality and cuts to student transit discounts, even while working a full-time job. Since then, she hasn’t stopped working for her neighbors, both as a teacher at PS6 and as a community activist.