Former Rep. Bright to be honored posthumously with Kunin Achievement Award

Louvenia Dorsey Bright

The late Louvenia Dorsey Bright, the first Black woman and woman of color elected to the Vermont Legislature, will be honored posthumously Sept. 23 with the 2023 Gov. Madeleine M. Kunin Achievement Award from Emerge Vermont.

The award, which recognizes Democratic women in Vermont with significant political achievements, will be presented to Bright's family by former state Rep. Kiah Morris and current state Rep. Saudia LaMont — the second and third Black women, respectively, to serve in the Vermont Legislature — at Emerge Vermont's 10th anniversary celebration at The Barn at Lang Farm in Essex Junction.

“It is with heavy but joyous hearts that we accept this award on behalf of my mother,” said her son, Bill. “We’re honored and humbled that her work is still being celebrated and that her legacy will live on. Her work on race and gender, equity, inclusion and opportunity is still relevant today, and we hope her story will inspire the next generation of leadership in Vermont.”

“We are honored to recognize Louvenia Dorsey Bright at our upcoming 10th anniversary celebration,” added Elaine Haney, executive director of Emerge Vermont. “She was a trailblazer who through her service broke a significant barrier for women of color in Vermont.”

Bright was born in Chicago and raised in Robbins, Illinois, and Niles, Michigan. After earning her education credentials and serving in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, she moved to Burlington, Vermont, in 1971. She taught business education at Colchester High School and Burlington High School and later worked as a gender and equity consultant to the Rural Education Center.

In 1988, Bright was elected to the first of three terms to the Vermont House of Representatives, where she led the fight for race and gender equity, inclusion and opportunity. In 1995, she retired to Alexandria, Virginia, before moving with her husband, William E. Bright II, to Park Forest, Illinois. Bright died July 29 at the age of 81.