Congressman Elijah Cummings speaks with the media the morning after citywide riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was detained for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore’s west side.
BALTIMORE– The city of Baltimore is grieving the loss of Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District till his death Thursday. He was 68.
Cummings died from problems of “longstanding health difficulties” at 2:30 a.m. EDT at Gilchrist Hospice Care, his workplace stated in a statement. Flowers had actually been put in front of his downtown offices within hours and, at city hall, flags were flying at half staff.
” A fearless champ of justice who combated tirelessly for civil rights & equality for everyone, including his cherished Baltimore,” the NAACP said in a statement. “Our democracy is more powerful because of him.”
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Young regreted the loss of “an effective voice and among the strongest and most talented crusaders for social justice,” in a statement Thursday.
” He was, put simply, a male of God who never forgot his responsibility to fight for the rights and self-respect of the marginalized and often forgotten,” Young stated of Cummings.
A small group of press reporters collected outside Cummings’ Baltimore house on a peaceful tree-lined street in the 2000 block of Madison Avenue. Your house bears a sign in the window that checks out “Re-elect Cummings for Congress,” and a single bouquet of white flowers lay on its front steps.
Some next-door neighbors were looking out of windows or resting on their stoops, including Darrin Timpson, 23.
” It’s extremely sad for his household and the black community,” he said. “That’s one person that really has not let the city down.”
Timpson kept in mind the late congressman was the visitor speaker at a football banquet he participated in when he was 13 and stated he was “distraught” when he learned of his death.
Cynthia Wilson, 54, said citizens are left wondering who will have the ability to pick up where Cummings ended.
” We require somebody that’s strong and who will defend Baltimore much like he did,” she said, sitting in the entrance of the home she’s lived in for 12 years. “He protected Baltimore, he enjoyed Baltimore and he did everything he might to help Baltimore … He meant a lot to Baltimore and we was blessed to have him for as long as we did.”
Wilson said she respected Cummings for always defending Baltimore, including when President Donald Trump derided Cummings’ district as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would wish to live.”
But she said it was seeing him march in the streets throughout the riots after Freddie Gray’s death in 2015 that “provided him king status.” A state of emergency situation was stated in the city when hundreds required to the streets after Gray, 25, passed away of injuries sustained throughout police transport.
” Nobody ever stood up like he did,” Wilson said. “He in fact walked in the street while they (were) tossing trash bin and all that. And he simply locked arms with individuals and kept going.”
One of those individuals was Bishop Walter Thomas, who has served as the pastor of New Psalmist Baptist Church given that 1975. Thomas remembered forming a human chain with Cummings and another church member to walk down North Avenue as riots started on the night of Gray’s funeral service.
” After we went out there that night, the night of Freddie Gray’s funeral service, he was back on that street trying to bring calm,” Thomas stated of Cummings. “He was out there every night calling folks to civility, calling folks to rely on the procedure and I will always remember that.”
Thomas said Cummings was his buddy for nearly 40 years and that he and his better half attended church almost every Sunday, disallowing a legal commitment.
As the son of sharecroppers who later became Pentecostal preachers, it was Cummings’ faith that drove him to serve, Thomas stated. He said Cummings’ death has ravaged the church.
” Everybody’s crushed,” Thomas stated. “Here, he is more than just the United States congressman, he is sibling Elijah Cummings.”
The pastor lamented deep space left by Cummings’ death, however stated his legacy will permanently live.
” Simply to call his name is to specify a classification in which he stands particular and alone,” Thomas stated. “It resembles stating the name Michael Jordan. You don’t require to say anymore, when you say the name Elijah Cummings, it will state it all.”