Letter to the Editor

THANK YOU, REp. rushing for over 30 years of service

Dear Editor:

As his term in office comes to a close, let us honor the remarkable legacy of State Rep. Byron Rushing. Byron has worked tirelessly for the people of his district since his election in 1982, giving more than three decades in committed service.

Ever since his days as a community organizer working for the Congress of Racial Equality during the Civil Rights Movement, Byron has been fighting for justice and standing up against racism, homophobia and all forms of discrimination in housing, education and employment.  If you support the idea that insurance companies can’t reject people for pre-existing conditions, you can thank Byron for his leadership on that issue.  If you’re grateful that public schools can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, or if you oppose discrimination on the basis of body size, Byron deserves your gratitude.  If you’re proud to live in a state that doesn’t allow the death penalty, you can give Byron credit.  If you oppose racial profiling, or if you support gun reform, Byron has been your champion.  If you believe in a compassionate response to those who have been caught up in the opiate crisis, Byron has stood up on your behalf.

A creative and innovative leader long before his days in elected office, Byron helped created the idea of a community development corporation (CDC).  As president of the Museum of African American History, he put Boston on the map as a historically significant city, and has worked to preserve historic sites in Roxbury and beyond.  His leadership in the African-American community brought him to the State House, where he rose to become the highest ranking African-American elected official in the state, serving as Assistant Majority Leader.  While his leadership and hard work will no doubt continue via other channels, the communities he serves have lost an important advocate and voice in state government.

Byron Rushing has been a friend and mentor to me for nearly 30 years, and over that time I have witnessed the passion and commitment with which he has served.  He is an inspiration to all who care about justice and about those who have been forced to the margins of society.  His generosity, integrity and intellect have been gifts to us all.  Byron, I know I speak on behalf of people from across the state when I say, thank you.

Rev. Tim Crellin

St. Stephen’s (South End)

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