Johanna Edmondson is all about health and wellness


Johanna Edmondson, candidate for the 81st Assembly state committee, said she is all about health and wellness.

The Female Fight Club gym founder’s top priorities mirror that of the community, she said, including transportation, neighborhood and school safety, and affordable housing following skyrocketing prices during Covid.

One of her future plans to promote health and wellness is to establish a farmers market in Kingsbridge.

“My vision as state committee is to continue to support the community, be a liaison between our local officials, our community, as well as city government,” Edmondson told The Press.

On a daily basis, Edmondson manages and teaches several exercise classes at the Female Fight Club. She also does the club’s marketing and inventory. As a businesswoman, she said she believes she can provide for and help people in the state committee role. One of her ideas to advocate for community members is in Van Cortlandt Park.

“We need to utilize it more,” Edmondson said. “We have many workout stations here that are so outdated. I feel they need to be upgraded so people can use it. Many residents, of course, cannot afford gym memberships.”

A food pantry that served the community during the pandemic but was shut down afterwards inspired Edmondson’s idea of a farmers market in Kingsbridge.

“I decided to reach out some of my local friends here who are also running the (Riverdale) farmers market,” Edmondson said. “It’s just bringing healthy choices. We have many fast-food restaurants in this area, and I want to kind of have our community healthier.”

Before moving to Riverdale, Edmondson was born in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. When she was 7 years old, she begrudgingly left her home country and moved to Inwood.

“It was tough because I didn’t know the language,” Edmondson said. “I wanted to go back, I didn’t want to leave my friends behind. But, of course, your parents know best. Looking for a better quality of life is the reason why they came here.”

Growing up, Edmondson watched her parents run businesses. Her mother owned a salon in Washington Heights. After graduating John F. Kennedy High School, Edmondson attended Lehman College and graduated with an associate’s degree in 2000. She later got another associate’s on the side for business management.

One of her proudest accomplishments, she said, was the leadership she displayed when everything shut down during the pandemic and she helped fill a void for community members by creating an outdoor gym.

Edmondson and four friends met at Van Cortlandt Park six times a week to work out, she said, which quickly caught the attention of other community members looking for a place to exercise.

“It was really a beacon of hope and the community responded well,” she said. “They came, they would drop off water to us and, at times, even the police officers would work out with us too.”

The outdoor gym was free for a year but the wear-and-tear of lugging a wagon to the park six days a week exhausted Edmondson, she said. This led to her creating the brick-and-mortar on Riverdale Avenue called the Female Fight Club. The gym has sponsored walks against breast cancer, domestic violence and human trafficking.

Edmondson said she got her involvement in politics after raising her family in the area and wanting to give back to the community. The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club-endorsed candidate decided to join, she said, because it served and stood for what she believed. Meeting Councilman Eric Dinowitz and elected officials in a park cleanup inspired Edmondson to run for state committee member in 2022.

While she lost that bid to Unity candidate Morgan Evers by just 76 votes, she is now the presumptive winner of the June 25 primary after Evers was removed from the ballot by a board-of-elections technicality.

Edmondson runs alongside incumbent state committee member Michael Heller and district candidates Ben Jackson and Emily Hausman. They have been funding their campaign as a team and encouraging community members to vote for President Joe Biden in November.

“I’m progressive and (bring) energetic leadership,” Edmondson said. “We really do need a Democratic party. That’s something that I do bring.”

Johanna Edmondson 81st Assembly state committee health and wellness community safety affordable housing Kingsbridge farmers market Female Fight Club gym Van Cortlandt Park Riverdale politics Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club community advocacy outdoor gym local elections