Obituary: Louvenia Dorsey Bright, 1941-2023

click to enlarge Louvenia Dorsey Bright - COURTESY

  • Courtesy
  • Louvenia Dorsey Bright

Louvenia Dorsey Bright passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 29,

Louvenia was born to Emma Mae Lee and Harold Dorsey
in Chicago, Ill., on November 21, 1941. She spent her early and teen
years in Robbins, Ill., and Niles, Mich., respectively. She later
moved to Detroit, where she graduated with honors from Detroit
Eastern High School.

Louvenia graduated from Highland Park
Junior College in Highland Park, Mich. She then became a school
secretary in the Highland Park Public School District. In 1961, she
began studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, where she majored
in business education, graduating in 1965.

In 1963, she
married Dr. William E. Bright II, and the two served from 1965 to
1967 in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, where she taught at
Philippine Normal College in Manila.

Upon returning to the
United States, she taught business education at Highland Park High
School. She also returned to Wayne State University, earning a
master’s in education in 1971. That same year, she and her family
moved to Burlington, Vt.

In Vermont, Louvenia earned a
certificate of advanced studies in education administration at the
University of Vermont. She was also active in her community, teaching
business education at Colchester High School and Burlington High
School and serving in many leadership capacities, including as vice
president of the Black Professionals Network of Vermont; as a
gender/equity consultant to the Rural Education Center; and as a
member of the Vermont State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission
on Civil Rights, the Minority Women’s Business Partnership and the
local NAACP chapter.

In 1988, she was elected to the
Vermont State House of Representatives and served three terms,
representing the city of South Burlington. She was the first African
American woman — and, in fact, the first woman of color — to
serve in the Vermont State Legislature.

As a state
representative, Louvenia led the fight for race and gender equity,
inclusion, and opportunity, serving as ranking member of the Health
and Welfare Committee, where she stewarded passage of Vermont’s
first Parental and Family Leave Act. She also served on the
Government Operations Committee.

In 2021, local NAACP
chapters in Vermont established the Bright Leadership Institute in
her honor as a multistage training program for BIPOC Vermonters
running for any level of public office or taking on community
leadership roles. This fall, she will also be honored by Emerge
Vermont with a lifetime achievement award for her political work in
the state.

She was a member of the Burlington First United
Methodist Church, serving in the church school and on the education

In 1995, she retired and moved to Alexandria,
Va. In 2011, she continued her retirement, with her husband, in Park
Forest, Ill., where she was a faithful and active member of the
Flossmoor Community Church.

Louvenia is survived by her
husband of 60 years, Dr. William E. Bright II; her children, William
E. Bright III, his spouse, Lauren Bright, and children Aaron and
Erik; and Rebecca Louvenia Bright Pugh, her husband, Preston Pugh,
and children Alexia and Kendyl. She is also survived by her siblings
Carryle Kidder, Earl Dorsey and Nancy Gavin, as well as countless
nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents, Emma Mae Lee
and Harold Dorsey, and siblings Cecelia Jackson, Sherryle Allen and
Harold Dorsey.

Memorial services and charitable donations
in honor of Louvenia’s memory will be announced at a later date.

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