Massachusetts State Rep. Liz Miranda ’02 is Wellesley’s 2021 Commencement Speaker

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Liz Miranda ’02, a Roxbury, Mass., native who is the state representative of the 5th Suffolk district, will be Wellesley’s speaker for the 143rd Commencement on June 4.

“We are delighted to welcome back Massachusetts State Rep. Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Miranda ’02 to campus to celebrate the class of 2021,” President Paula A. Johnson said in her April 16 announcement. “Rep. Miranda serves her home community of the 5th Suffolk district, which comprises the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston, and is one of the commonwealth’s most resilient, diverse, and culturally rich communities. Her efforts as a co-sponsor of the Safe Communities Act, which would protect due process and prevent contracts that allow state and county personnel to act as federal immigration agents, embody her drive to make her district—and the entire commonwealth—a safer place for all of its residents.”

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining you this year at commencement in June, and honored that you chose me and invited me to give your commencement address,” Miranda said in a video message to the class of 2021. “I know this year may have been challenging, and felt different than the past, but I invite you to embrace joy as resistance, even in these trying times.”

As a student, Miranda majored in Africana studies and was involved in Ethos and Harambee House. In a StoryCorps interview she said, “When I was at Wellesley, every day I saw banners and signs that said ‘We are women who will make a difference in the world.’ One of the things I thought about was, how do I go back home and create a new narrative for girls who look like me?”

Miranda recently wrote an opinion piece for Ms. magazine in which she said she was committed to treating maternal justice as racial justice. She made that decision during her first week in office, when advocates were describing the effects of structural racism on Black mothers and their children. “I was only one of two Black women in the room, and I quickly realized that what they were telling me was that simply because I am Black, I had a greater chance of dying from childbirth,” she wrote. “I made a commitment that day that I was going to work with everyone possible to save more Black women and babies.”

In a statement on behalf of 2021 Class Council, Katie Christoph, class co-president, and Lauren Gedney, class co-vice president, wrote, “In a year where our nation’s ever-fraught sociopolitical realities have been laid bare, we wanted to choose a speaker whose ethos is firmly rooted in justice, empathy, and a commitment to the power and radical promise of grassroots action to effect change. We are honored that Rep. Liz Miranda ’02 will be joining us to commemorate a year—and a resilient senior class—like no other.”

Shortly after her election, Miranda was featured in a Wellesley magazine article about alumnae running for office. “Hope is such a big driver of being engaged in politics because people are struggling,” she said in the article. “They want help, and you have got to be the person that helps them.”

“Through her dedicated service to her community, Rep. Miranda exemplifies Wellesley’s motto: Non Ministrari sed Ministrare. Not to be ministered unto, but to minister. I very much look forward to hearing her remarks,” Johnson said.

Wellesley’s 2021 commencement will include both an in-person gathering for seniors living on campus, held on Severance Green, and a virtual gathering for seniors studying off-campus this spring, families, and friends, to be livestreamed at the Class of 2021 website.