Image projected on a building of a younger Rep. Cummings taken on a street in his native Baltimore. From an unknown source, projected images and messages appear on the side of a building near my house in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC.
When the news alert came across my cell phone on Thursday morning that Elijah Cummings had died, I felt overwhelming sadness for the loss of a powerful, eloquent, and soulful human who understood trauma in his bones. An immediate second thought was he died too soon as do many other African Americans whose lifespan is shorter by years than white people’s. Then I wondered how we can honor his legacy by building on what he started dramatically in the House Oversight and Reform Committee with the first hearing of its kind on July 11 this year (Click here for a story on the hearing in ACEs Connection).
Just the day before the news of Cummings’ death, I had read an email from Dan Press who leads the advocacy work for the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) updating me and other members of the CTIPP Board about the latest thinking of Cummings and his staff about the advisability of moving ahead at this time with comprehensive legislation on trauma. The strategy was fluid but it was clear that Cummings was engaged and focused on the what, when, and how of promising next steps with legislation.
He left too soon but we know where to find him. Never forget who he was and what he stood for.