After immigrating to the U.S. from Haiti in her youth, Rita became civically engaged and began her life of advocacy. While growing up in Flatbush, Rita quickly recognized the power of activism. 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 The rally succeeded in its mission, and the FDA rescinded the racist rule.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, Rita hasn't looked back with her community advocacy. As a teen mom who got a full college scholarship, Rita knows what it means to have to work for what you have. Rita spent her twenties raising two kids while organizing protests against cuts to student MetroCards and police brutality, on top of her full-time job. She organized not because it was easy, but because it was necessary for her community. Since then, she hasn’t stopped working for her neighbors.
Rita has deep roots in the community she is running to represent as City Council Member of District 40. She is an active member of the Holy Innocent Catholic Church and has created a partnership to put on a coat drive and annual Thanksgiving dinner for struggling families in the neighborhood. She has also led the way on numerous community events like toy drives, community street fairs, and after school programs with the support of local elected officials.
In addition to community events, Rita has been a part of many important initiatives that help shape our district. She 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 for the last 2 years, thanks to an appointment by former City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
As an educator, Rita has seen the struggles and triumphs of her students and their families. She has supported them by serving on the school leadership team as a CBO Liaison and hosting an annual legislative breakfast as PS6. She’s also been able to provide for her school financially, securing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for technological improvements that help thousands of children receive a better education, including capital funding from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Rita Joseph is a proud public school graduate of the now-closed Sarah J. Hale High School. She holds a BS in Liberal Arts from St. Francis College and a dual Master’s in General and Special Education from Touro College. Rita currently lives in Prospect Lefferts Gardens where she raises her 4 children.
Rita has served in the City Council since January 2022, where she is the Chair of the Committee on Education and also sits on committees related to Civil & Human Rights, Immigration, Hospitals, Public Safety, & more. She is also a member of the Progressive Caucus, Women's Caucus, and Black, Latino, & Asian Caucus.