Blog, Read. Resist. Vote.

Read. Resist. Vote. 2022 — Week Four

the words read, resist and vote are separated by star like shapes around the purple lips that make up the feminist book club logo

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Hellooo again! It’s week four in this year’s Read. Resist. Vote. series (you can find week one here, week two here, and week three here). This week, we have three more candidates to introduce you to. Bask in their amazingness, allow them to inspire you, and maybe even contribute to their campaigns?

Let’s have at it!

read. resist. vote. 2022

Rita Harris — Orange County, Florida — Florida House District 44 Elect

Rita Harris. Photo courtesy of Rita Harris

Rita is a Native New Yorker who has lived in Florida for 20 years (via Phoenix for 12). She is the former Vice-Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, founding Former President of the Democratic Women’s Club of South Orange County, and an activist, advocate, organizer, and lover of life (and people). She is also the proud mom to Anissa and is happily married to her best friend, John.

Rita was recently elected to the Florida House of Legislature and will begin her term in November. She got her start in advocacy at Planned Parenthood as a teenager. She was part of the Positive Force Players, a group of kids who wrote and performed skits that pertained to what they were dealing with at the time. She underwent training to become a peer counselor and would go out to schools and offer peer-to-peer guidance to other teenagers. She counts this as being formative to her work in politics now. 

What is driving you to run for office?

I think there is a lot at stake. It’s not just the fall of Roe, although that is a big part of why I ran. Democracy itself is on the line. I think now is the time for public servants who don’t necessarily come from the road most traveled to elected office. I’m not a lawyer or a political scientist (not that there is anything wrong with that, either). I’m a mom, a person who tried to make ends meet over the years, who has dealt with not having insurance or enough insurance, and I’m an advocate who has a history of working to make my community a better place. I felt the time was right for someone like me in the Florida House. 

Are you doing any efforts to encourage people to get to the polls?

I continue to canvass for other candidates on the ballot in November and do whatever it takes. A lot of us in Florida feel like we are what stands between Governor DeSantis and the rest of the United States and I think, collectively, we are doing what we can to make him a one-term governor and keep Democrats in Florida from becoming a super minority.

What are you currently reading, or what have you read recently?

I am currently reading Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neal Hurston. 

Why does this book speak to you?

I live only 30 minutes from Eatonville, where Zora Neale Hurston grew up and which was the setting for so many of her books. I wanted to know more about her, as she’s an amazing author and Central Floridian, and felt that reading this autobiography would give insight into who she was not only as a writer but as a Black woman living in the south during Jim Crow who was unapologetic. I love stories about people who are authentically themselves. 

Her family was influential in Eatonville, and her father was a lawmaker in the town where she was born. 

I think a lot of wisdom can be taken from this book, no matter who you are. There is a lot of wisdom on these pages, and Ms. Hurston is an imaginative author. And I love how she wanted to write her story and the importance of historically excluded people to write their own history for the next generation to learn from. In Florida, our Governor is working to erase this history, and we must ensure that these books are here for those who come after us to read, as well.

Where can we donate?

Right now, I’m focusing on donations to other candidates since I don’t have a general election. However, people can learn more about me at

You can also learn more about Rita on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Dr. Annie Andrews — Charleston, SC — SC First Congressional District

Dr. Annie Andrews

Dr. Annie Andrews is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston and has been a pediatrician at MUSC since 2009. She cares for children and adolescents from all over the Lowcountry at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. There, she also developed and directed the Advocacy Curriculum for the Department of Pediatrics.

She is a gun violence prevention researcher and community advocate working to reduce the frequency of pediatric firearm injuries with a focus on secure storage counseling and gun safety education in the community. She is an active volunteer with Moms Demand Action, the largest grassroots gun violence prevention organization in the country. She is a frequently invited speaker at children’s hospitals and medical schools across the country on topics related to child health advocacy and gun violence prevention. She is a member of the South Carolina chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Charleston County Medical Society. She serves on the Charleston County Medical Society School Health Committee, which advises the Charleston County School District on matters related to child health. She is an appointed member of the City of Charleston Mayor’s Health and Wellness Committee and a graduate of the Furman University Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative.  

What is driving you to run for office?

My roles as a mother to my three incredible kids and as a pediatrician in my community drove me to want to run for office. When you work every day at a children’s hospital, you don’t have the luxury of looking away from the problems facing the most vulnerable among us, our children, and their families. I believe our children deserve leaders they can look up to, leaders they can trust to fight for them.

I believe it is our duty to fight to address climate change so we can pass down a healthy planet to our children, and our duty to act with urgency on voting rights so that we can pass down a healthy democracy to our children. I believe that every child deserves access to a quality education regardless of the ZIP code into which they were born. I believe we need a healthcare system that centers patients, not drug companies and insurance companies. I believe every child deserves to grow up in a community where the definition of justice is not dependent on their skin color. I believe our daughters deserve to have the same rights our mothers had. And I believe that every child deserves to grow up in a country where gun violence is not the leading cause of death for children as it is in the United States today.

Are you doing any efforts to encourage people to get to the polls?

Yes! Our field program is focused on getting out the vote. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer, this election became about restoring women’s reproductive freedom. If women and young people vote on this issue, pro-choice candidates like myself will win. That of course means we have to work diligently to get out the vote every day between now and November 8.

What are you currently reading or what have you read recently?

Over Labor Day weekend, I read The Turnaway Study by Diana Greene Foster, cover to cover. As a physician and clinical researcher, I like to be as informed as possible and use data to drive my policy positions. I cannot recommend this book enough to people who really want to understand the consequences of ripping away women’s reproductive freedom. As a gun violence prevention advocate and researcher, I also cannot recommend enough Children Under Fire by John Woodrow Cox. It is a heartwarming and gut-wrenching perspective on the devastating impact of gun violence on children in the United States.

Where can we donate?

You can learn more about Annie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Lorena Austin — Mesa, Arizona — Arizona House of Representatives District 9

Lorena Austin

Lorena is a 5th generation Arizonan and native of Mesa whose lifelong love for advocacy and leadership has been rooted in this district for a century. She is the granddaughter of farmworkers and small business owners who worked and advocated for the community. Lorena’s experience working in the public, private, and non-profit sectors includes working with Verizon’s Innovative Learning Program to bring advanced technology and curriculum to Title 1 schools nationwide, supporting her community by volunteering with the United Food Bank in Mesa, and providing COVID-19 support to Indigenous communities located in the Navajo Nation. She currently serves as a Student Government Advisor at Mesa Community College.

What is driving you to run for office?

Arizona is in desperate need of Representatives who will serve the best interests of the community, leaders who will show up and engage in constructive conversations and provide transparency to their constituents. Investments in education, healthcare, and water conservation will be amongst my top priorities, as well as combating our climate crisis and advocating to stop the displacement of our vibrant community due to rapidly rising housing costs Additionally, with the fall of Roe v. Wade, I will fight to make sure that the right of all patients in Arizona to make their own healthcare decisions is protected by law. 

Are you doing any efforts to encourage people to get to the polls?

Knocking on doors. I have been canvassing every single day since the beginning of our campaign to directly speak with the community members of my district and listen to their needs and concerns. This has been an incredibly fulfilling aspect of running for office, as I am a fifth-generation Arizonan who grew up in this district. Meeting new people and seeing some familiar faces has given me the encouragement to continue this effort all the way until November and include everyone in the civic process. 

What are you currently reading or what have you read recently?

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.

Why does this book speak to you?

It’s based upon a reform school that existed for over 100 years in Florida during the Jim Crow era. It’s important to me that we continue to expand our knowledge with diverse narratives in order to understand how the past affects our present, and how we can progress in the future. 

Where can we donate?

On my website,, or!

You can learn more about Lorena on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tayler Simon is a nerdy black woman in search of liberation for all. When she's not reading/listening to audiobooks and writing, you can find her laughing at memes and chatting incessantly about astrology (Cancer/Sagittarius/Cancer). Favorite genres: African American fiction and memoir.

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