Elijah Cummings 1951-2019

Carolyn Leighton

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Originally published on October 17, 2019.

I woke up this morning to news Elijah Cummings died at 2:38am this morning - and I can't stop crying.

No one moved me more than Elijah Cummings. When Elijah spoke, I dropped everything I was doing and listened - he touched me so deeply, by his wisdom, spoken so powerfully, so truthfully, so passionately from his heart with such pure intention of doing what what was right - and accepting nothing less. He was a gift to every one of us, our country, and the world.

Elijah Cummings graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University with a Bachelors degree where he was student government president, and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Elijah Cummings was one of seven children whose parents were South Carolina sharecroppers who moved north for better opportunities. He credited his parents - both preachers - with instilling in him a moral code that led him to public service.

"He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation's diversity was our promise, not our problem" said his wife, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, Chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party.

His mother told him stories of how many people she saw beaten trying to vote and, on her deathbed, made him promise he would do everything possible to protect the right of every person to vote.

We can honor Elijah Cummings memory every day by taking a stand against racism whenever and wherever it occurs and embracing the differences of each person as a promise, not a problem.

I invite you to share with our community your experience of Elijah Cummings - I have no doubt many of you feel as devastated to have lost him as I do! 

Carolyn Leighton