October 18, 2019
To the Editor:
News media reports on the untimely death of U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings on October 17 have pointed to his dedication to service, his advocacy in the face of oppression, his denouncement of injustice, his insistence upon morality and ethical conduct and his Christian faith. Beyond the factual information, there is even more to say in tribute to him.
Today we mourn a truth-teller who was unafraid of where truth might lead. We mourn a mediator between opposing sides and fractured parties, between those who fight each other. We mourn a defender of his beloved Baltimore when it was maligned and mis-tweeted. We mourn the encourager of congresswomen of color who dared to take up his mantle of truth-telling.
We mourn a hope-giver who offered us the hope we desperately need in these dark and troubling times. We mourn this man of passion and commitment to causes others avoid and to people others ignore.
We will remember his passion, his truth-telling, his gift of hope and his gift of light that graced those who are targeted by racism, who are disadvantaged, and who are maligned and mistreated. These are his mourners.
Yet, we too are his mourners. Those of us who are privileged, who are not targets of oppression and racial hatred, mourn him too. We join all those who will remember the hope and the light he brought us. We will remember Elijah Cummings walking through the streets after the funeral of Freddie Gray singing, “This little light of mine . . .”
In tribute, we pick up his light and hold it high, honoring his memory by promising him – and ourselves – that it will continue to shine.
Kathy Manis Findley