Who Is Movita Johnson-Harrell?
Movita Johnson-Harrell is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a masters degree in Social Work from the
University of Pennsylvania. As the executive director of MECA, for over two decades she has advocated, cared for
and fought to improve the quality of life for disenfranchised groups. Movita lost her father, only brother and a cousin to homicide. Movita is a sexual assault survivor and is recovering from addictions with 26 years clean.
On January 13 2011, Movita’s youngest of four children, Charles Andre Johnson, 18 years old, was shot and killed in
a case of mistaken identity. Philadelphia police found that Charles was killed by two young men 23 and 25 years old with previous arrest records. 26 days after Charles died his only child, Khalif was born.
In April of 2011, after Charles’ murder, Movita created the CHARLES Foundation, (Creating Healthy Alternatives
Results in Less Emotional Suffering) Since implementing the foundation Movita has worked nationally to protect
and empower our youth and to address the social determinants that lead to gun violence. She has worked with SCI
Phoenix and Dallas on solutions to gun violence. Movita coordinates survivor’s empowerment groups as well as
therapeutic activities for survivors of homicide. She created and sponsors a “Be The Change” summer internship
where she pays young people that are identified as “at risk” to participate in a program of empowerment, education
and mentorship. She has been the Moral Voice of the Community for The City of Philadelphia for The Focused
Deterrence Strategy where for several years she has engaged those likely to kill and/or be killed. Movita is
dedicated to ending gun violence and empowering communities to heal from the trauma of living in active war
In January of 2018, Movita was appointed Supervisor of Victim/Witness Services and Restorative Justice at the
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office by District Attorney Lawrence Krasner, becoming the first Muslim woman
appointed to a supervisory law enforcement position in the city of Philadelphia. Movita created the Philadelphia
CARES Model that brought $1.6 million dollars and 15 jobs to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to support
co-victims of homicide and prevent retaliation.
On March 12th 2019, Movita won the special election for State Representative for the 190th legislative district
capturing more than 66% of the vote in a four person race. Movita made history as the first Muslim woman ever
elected to the General Assembly in Pennsylvania. As a six-month freshman in the House of Representatives, Movita
was able to solidify $1.3 million dollars in funding for gun violence prevention for Philadelphia. She also brought
more than $5 million dollars in community improvements into her district.
On March 5th 2021, Movita’s surviving son, Donte’ L. Johnson, 30 years old was shot and killed in a random drive
by while on a trip to California. Movita’ continues to work in the memory of both of her sons Donte’ and Charles.
She works to address the social determinants that lead to gun violence including systemic racism, poverty and
gentrification. She is also leading a national grassroots movement to end gun violence by empowering those
closest to the problem to be the solution.