UConn remembers the life of statesman Elijah Cummings 


At a Johns Hopkins branch hospital in Maryland, congressman and civil rights orator Elijah E. Cummings passed away early Thursday morning from complications and long-standing health issues at age 68. 

Cummings was a representative of Maryland’s 7th district, where he defended the city of Baltimore and led civil rights efforts for the predominantly African American community. Cummings also served as chairman for the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which chiefly handled investigations of President Trump and his family, such as the recent impeachment inquiry. 

Dr. Willena Price of UConn’s African American Cultural Center said she could see Cummings had not been well as late — he had reportedly used a walker at his last congressional appearance in early September. However, she was ultimately surprised to hear the news of the congressman’s death. 

“My heart was broken for someone who had given so much of their life to the country and to Baltimore,” Price said. “there is no greater public servant.” 

According to an article published by USA Today, when Trump came to blows with Cummings in July, calling the  Congressman’s district a “rodent-infested mess,” Cummings invited the President to Baltimore.

 “Those in the highest levels of government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings said.  

Cummings held the nation to a higher standard as he insisted “as a country we must finally say that enough is enough.” 

The UConn College Democrats were reflective of the ex-Congressman’s “progressive leadership.”  

The organization’s Statewide Finance Coordinator Michael Cerulli remembers Cummings as a “champion for justice and equality for all Americans” and said his “commitment to accountability and the rule of law will have a lasting impact on our republic.” 

In a statement addressed to UConn students regarding the Congressman’s death, chairperson of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) External Affairs Committee Damani R. Douglas admired Cummings for his perseverance and beginnings in his own student body government at Howard University. 

Douglas explained that Cummings went on to find himself on the front lines of many social issues, including needle exchange programs and mitigating the spread of HIV/AIDS, and how his advocacy began at a time when “he was not much older than us.” 

In USG’s statement, Douglas calls Cummings an “inspiration to all college students who want to cause a change in their community” and a “resource for those who are hurting.” 

 “As we process and move through the recent events here on campus, let’s reflect on [Cummings’] words during the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray,” Douglas’ statement said. 

“I want justice, oceans of it,” Cummings said. “I want fairness, rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”

USG  has offered itself to students seeking additional resources in regards to the death of Cummings. 

Conner Caridad is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at conner.caridad@uconn.edu.

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