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BPRC: Boston Reparations Task Force Appointee Raises Troubling Questions

Thursday Jun 27, 2024

The Boston People's Reparations Commission (BPRC) has questioned the appointment of former Massachusetts House of Representative Byron Rushing to Boston Mayor Michele Wu's Boston Reparations Task Force. Rushing has been tapped to serve as senior advisor to the city group.

The BPRC'S concerns are based on a February 1, 2024 WGBH podcast series. The host of the "What Is Owed?" The series podcast quotes Byron Rushing as stating his decision to support the late Senator Bill Owens reparations proposal in the 1980's was "the worst decision of his political career." This comment can be found at the 27:00 mark from Episode 2 - "Bill Owens: Boston's Reparations Trailblazer" at this link:


Edwin Sumpter, Co-Director of the Boston People's Reparation Commission said that "Rushing's comment indicates bias and sends mixed signals to those hoping for a realistic opportunity for reparations in Boston."

"I do not understand how someone could advise the reparations task force after making negative comments on the issue of reparations. I feel Mayor Wu or the head of the Boston Reparation Task Force owes Black Boston an explanation." Sumpter added.

The Boston People's Reparations Commission, an independent, grassroots effort, was formed in 2023 and has actively engaged Boston's African American community around the subject of reparations. Along with monthly meetings, BPRC recently hosted a day of public testimonies in support of reparations which was attended by hundreds in Roxbury and viewed by millions online.