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Movita Johnson-Harrell Makes History as First Muslim Woman to Be Elected as State Representative in Pennsylvania

Movita Johnson-Harrell Makes History as First Muslim Woman to Be Elected as State Representative in Pennsylvania

Photo: Philadelphia DA's Office 

This week, Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell made history by becoming the first Muslim woman to be elected as a state representative in Pennsylvania, reports Philly Mag.

Serving as a former interim supervisor of Victim Services for Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office, Johnson-Harrell won 66 percent of the votes in a special election Tuesday night for the 190th District seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Her platform focused on several key issues including socioeconomic opportunity, education reform and gun violence prevention, which is an issue she was personally impacted by when she lost her son to gun violence a few years ago. That tragedy led her to create a nonprofit organization in her son’s name called the CHARLES Foundation, which pushes for more gun violence prevention in local Philadelphia communities.

In January, when she announced her bid to run, the West Philly native told Philly Mag, "I'm running because I care about my community – I don’t need a job. Many people enter politics looking for a career, money, power, fame – I’ll be personally taking a $20,000 pay cut if I become the next state representative.”

After coming away with the victory Tuesday night, Johnson-Harrell wrote on Facebook that she is “honored to be the first Muslim woman elected to the Pennsylvania legislature.”

“We ran a race of integrity and class even with the slander and politics,” she added. “This win is bittersweet. My seat rests on the grave of my son Charles Johnson. I will fight to protect our communities and tackle this multilayered problem.”

With her win, Johnson-Harrell will replace former Rep. Vanessa Lowery-Brown, who won the seat this past November but resigned following her conviction on bribery and other charges. In her race, Johnson-Harrell defeated community advocate Amen Brown, activist and clergywoman Pamela K. Williams and Republican candidate Michael Harvey.