Elijah Cummings was born the son of sharecroppers. He lived to serve 23 years as the Democratic Representative from Maryland’s 7th district. In that role, he was a steadfast opponent of racism and discrimination. His activism started at age 11 when he demonstrated to help integrate a Baltimore swimming pool. While picketing, he was attacked by people throwing rocks and bottles. As Congressman, when Donald Trump called Cummings’ district “a rat and rodent infected mess,” he called for an end to Trump’s hateful rhetoric. After the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Cummings personally went to a troubled neighborhood in West Baltimore where he helped to restore order while at the same time working to encourage changes in police policies to prevent further tragic deaths. The NAACP said that “he demanded justice on every front and never shied away from standing up for the most vulnerable.
Congressman Cummings served as the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. He prepared investigations on the Trump-Russia connection, the Mueller Report, and immigration and border policies as well as family separations, which he vehemently opposed. Even as he was known for working across the aisle with Republicans, he was very clear as he investigated the Trump scandals that “this is a fight for the soul of our democracy.” He believed that we could win this fight because “we are better than this!” Do you remember this statement? It was very powerful. Congressman Cummings also worked tirelessly to increase funding for public education and Head Start as well as to lower prescription drug prices.