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Mayor Wu Appoints Former State Representative Byron Rushing to City's Reparations Task Force

Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston Reparations Task Force recently announced the appointment of former State Representative Byron Rushing to the Reparations Task Force. With this appointment, the task force members will continue to build and convene around Boston’s work regarding research and community engagement around reparative solutions for the descendants of enslaved persons. 

“Byron Rushing is a groundbreaking leader and legendary advocate for justice whose work has moved our city forward,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Throughout his life, he has always fought for voices who have gone unheard and uplifted communities across the state. I’m grateful for Byron’s service on the Reparations Task Force and know that he will be an invaluable member guiding this critical work.”

Rushing’s appointment adds a range of experience and strong understanding of Boston’s communities that will build on the task force’s composition and current work. The Reparations Task Force consists of community leaders in law, academia, community organizing, and education and represents diversity in age, gender, and discipline to fully encompass the Black experience in Boston. The task force is currently working with two teams of research partners who are studying and documenting the City’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. 

“As the Boston Reparations Task Force conducts our examination of the historical and present impacts of slavery in the City of Boston, we are pleased to welcome State Representative. Byron Rushing (Ret.),” said Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., Chair of the Reparations Task Force. “We thank Mayor Wu for her leadership in appointing Representative Rushing. I am delighted with his appointment because of the thoughtful deliberations he will bring as we, in collaboration with the community, work towards presenting recommendations for a reparations plan for Boston.”

Former State Representative Byron Rushing has served as a vital advocate for Black communities across Boston and Massachusetts. During his time in the State House, Rushing represented the 9th Suffolk District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1983-2018. Rushing rose to become Assistant Majority Leader, the highest-ranking leadership role ever held by a person of color in the Massachusetts State Legislature.

“The task of determining reparations is one of utmost importance in this moment as Boston and communities across the country take on helping people reconcile, move forward and recover,” said Byron Rushing. “This work will not be easy because it begins with the history of Boston’s  involvement with  slavery and the slave trade. I’m thankful to Mayor Wu and look forward to working closely with every member of the task force and community to ensure that we center this work on equity and justice and truth.”

Before his service as a legislator, Rushing participated in the civil rights movement and worked in various capacities for the Congress of Racial Equity (CORE) and the Northern Student Movement before becoming President of Boston’s Museum of African American History. As State Representative, Rushing worked to pass a groundbreaking law to ban discrimination the basis of sexual orientation, led Massachusetts’ fight against apartheid in South Africa, championed marriage equality, and worked to address racial disparities in our legal system.

In January, Mayor Wu and the City of Boston Reparations Task Force announced the selection of two teams of historians who will research and document the City of Boston’s involvement in and historical connections to the transatlantic slave trade, as well as the institution and aftermaths of slavery. The research teams are in the process of conducting original historical research and a comprehensive review of major themes and findings on the City’s history from 1620 to the present. For more information about the task force, visit

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