Miranda talks of family, Cape Verdean issues in first House speech

State Rep. Liz Miranda, representing the Fifth Suffolk district, delivered her "maiden" speech in the House chamber last month. Photos courtesy Rep. Miranda's office

In her first speech to the House chamber on Beacon Hill last month, state Rep. Liz Miranda, representing Roxbury and Dorchester in the Fifth Suffolk district, focused on urging her fellow representatives to fund a Cabo Verdean Cultural Center.

Miranda, the co-chair of the Cabo Verdean Cultural Center Feasibility Commission, used the occasion to tell stories about her family: How her great-grandfather’s made his way from Cape Verde to Massachusetts, and how her grandfather kept his family afloat on his $70 per week. She also let the rapper Ice Cube speak for her at one point.

“It is great, great honor and pride that I stand before you,” Miranda said. “I never would have thought that a little girl born from a teenage mom like me would find her way into this significant chamber.”

Miranda spoke about the Cape Verdean-American population that she represents. More than 50,000 people with roots in Cape Verde live in Boston, she said, noting the 45 percent of that number who live in her district. Another 30,000 live in Brockton, she added.

Miranda thanked voters who last year elected her to replace former representative Evandro Carvalho, quoting one of America’s most famous hip-hop artists to emphasize what a historic choice her district made.

“To the people of the fifth Suffolk district representing parts of Roxbury and Dorchester … thank you for believing in me, voting for me to be your representative, and for advocating with me for increased resources for our state’s most minority district—with 94 percent people of color,” Miranda said. 

“In the words of Ice Cube, ‘Today is a good day!’ It is a profound and meaningful day for me and my district and Cape Verdeans all over the world.”

Miranda asked her colleagues to support granting $200,000 in state funds for the survey by the Feasibility Commission that Rep. Carvalho put together in 2017.

The study “is an important initial first step that will determine how and where we can have the most impact for Cape Verdeans in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth,” she said. “Cultural and community centers are critical to our communities. They unite us, they are safe spaces for all ages to learn and grow, they provide valuable social services, and they are places to affirm and hold our stories, our histories, and the promises for tomorrow.”

Miranda’s speech was received with a standing ovation – a customary gesture for all inaugural speeches in the House.  The House ultimately authorized $75,000 for the study in an amendment to the upcoming budget, according to the current version of the bill.