Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett’s office released a heartfelt statement after the passing of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings before sunrise on Thursday. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, was a Baltimore attorney and civil rights advocate with a long history of fighting for equality. Cummings served in Maryland’s legislature before representing his home state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Before his passing this week, Cummings took on a leading role in investigating President Trump following the Ukraine scandal that has rocked the nation and worried foreign allies around the globe. Cummings was 68 years old.
“Today we lost the earthly man, Elijah Cummings” Plaskett said in a statement. “He was a fierce fighter for the forgotten, a sworn opponent of hunger, of poverty, of abuse and of addiction.” Cummings’ death comes just one day after House Democrats told the media about an explosive meeting with President Trump over the conflict in Syria. Leading Democrats described the meeting as a diatribe as the President verbally attacked the House speaker.
Following the meeting, which took place at the White House, House Speaker Pelosi said “we have to pray for his health,” referring to Trump after she and leading Democrats walked out of the meeting in protest.
Cummings’ death would follow hours later. “I had the honor of being a member of the Committee he chaired, Oversight and Reform, for 5 years,” Plaskett said. “Like so many of his generation, he was raised in a time of both overt and unwritten racism.”
Cummings died while at Gilchrist Hospice Care — an affiliate of Johns Hopkins Medicine, according to an obituary in the Baltimore Sun, his hometown paper. Cummings’s office told the Sun that the Congress member had recently undergone a medical procedure, but the severity of his medical condition was not publicly disclosed until his passing.
Cummings, who was head of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Reform, died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital from complications related to longstanding health challenges, according to The Associated Press.
“To his wife, Maya, his family, and staff our prayers and love are with you,” Plaskett ended.
Working together with Rep. Cummings has offered Plaskett special insight into how America has historically handled issues like race, poverty, voting rights and fair treatment for marginalized communities around the United States.
“Our territorial status is eerily similar to the status of the original 13 colonies to the British government,” Plaskett said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s case related to the Insular Cases this week. “Today, the unequal footing of the territories in voting power, proximity to the mainland, funding formulas and resources of our country continue to keep the Virgin Islands from becoming all that we can be…”
Since taking office, Plaskett has provided testimony and advocated for voting rights for all U.S. territories — where more than 4 million Americans are unable to vote in presidential elections and are subject to unequal treatment from the nation’s primary institutions.
“A people who have made great contributions to this country — including Alexander Hamilton, Denmark Vessey, and Tim Duncan — still do not have equal citizenship. Democracy is not complete,” Plaskett said in her statement following the Supreme Court case.
Featured image courtesy of Vox.