The Members of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus join many others in the Commonwealth as we mourn the recent passing of the late Representative Doris Bunte of Boston. The MBLLC itself exists because of the efforts made by Mrs. Bunte – and other founding members – to broker reforms and access for all people of color to legislative processes. Mrs. Bunte knew that any and all reforms required an intersectional lens, having also played a major role in the creation of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators (MCWL).
As the first Black woman elected to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Mrs. Bunte worked to embody the belief that all persons of color, regardless of economic status, were deserving of dignified housing, education, and employment. Over the course of her twelve years in the House Mrs. Bunte put forward legislation to improve living conditions for the elderly and persons with disabilities, pushed for tutors and greater educational resources for youth caught in the juvenile system, and worked to extend grant opportunities for grassroots community organizations. After leaving the Legislature in 1985, Mrs. Bunte went on to become the first Black woman to run the Boston Housing Authority, pioneering the desegregation of public housing. These efforts continue to provide us current Black and brown legislators with a standard of community devotion and leadership that we must strive tirelessly to meet.
The death of Mrs. Bunte also reminds us of the endless list of Black trailblazers whose work is too often left to fade into the recesses of past. As we commemorate Black History Month, we must recognize our duty in ensuring that these legacies are not forgotten nor taken for granted; as such the MBLLC is committed to doing our part to hold our elders to the light with the reverence they deserve. In accordance with this commitment, MCWL at-large MBLLC member Representative Brandy Fluker Oakley, will act as a linchpin to memorialize and honor Mrs. Bunte’s legacy. Our thoughts are with the family of Mrs. Bunte as we reflect on all that we may still learn from her work. May she rest in power.
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MBLLC log posts are curated by the Caucus Executive Director.