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 The rally succeeded in its mission, and the FDA rescinded the racist rule.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. Among many other successes, Ms. Joseph was able to provide for her school financially, securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for technological improvements that help thousands of children receive a better education, including funding from then-Borough President Eric Adams, Senator Kevin Parker, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, and then-Councilmember Matthieu Eugene. Additionally, Ms. Joseph was appointed by State Senator Kevin Parker to serve as Chair of the Neighborhood Advisory Board and has been a part of the Citywide Participatory Budgeting Committee, thanks to an appointment by then-Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Councilmember Joseph is focused on improving public schools, fighting for affordable housing, combatting the climate crisis, and achieving real criminal and social justice reform for New Yorkers.