Baltimore Mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings, Who 'Fought for All'
Friday, October 18, 2019
BALTIMORE – As the nation grieves the sudden passing of Maryland's Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, activists in his Baltimore district remember him for his passionate support for local issues.
In a city with high poverty and transportation troubles, Cummings had been a tireless advocate of improving the commute, especially for low-income residents, says Brian O'Malley – president and CEO of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.
O'Malley worked with Cummings on many projects, including establishing a train line that connects Baltimore with Washington.
"One thing he said that really stuck with me, which is, he said, 'Why this matters is, it isn't just running a train up and down the tracks. This is bringing life to life,'" says O'Malley.
O'Malley also said during his 11 years working with Cummings, the congressman had a way of making people feel important, even on the most mundane projects.
Charm City activists especially appreciated Cummings' support on racial issues.
In April 2015, West Baltimore erupted into protests after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died in police custody. During the riots that followed Gray's death, Matthew Hubbard – community activist and owner of Matthew Hubbard Fine Grooming, a West Baltimore barbershop – says Cummings helped restore order and assured people that the authorities were taking the case seriously.
"He walked through the neighborhood and he changed the mindset in this area,” Hubbard recalls. “After that, now black men started stepping up and trying to change the inner city."
Throughout the day yesterday, Hubbard says his customers remembered Cummings and all he did for the city, adding that many of the older patrons cried as they spoke about their long-time champion for justice.
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