“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.” – Elijah E. Cummings, July 2019, in response to Trump’s “disgusting, rat and rodent infested district” comments.
I firmly believe that ordinary citizens have these same duties of government oversight and advocacy for each other. This has been a core belief for me for as long as I can remember; even as a young child learning from mom and dad. Elijah Cummings taught me much about civil rights in my early teenage years. By the time that Methacton High School faculty chose me to receive the school’s annual citizenship award in 1976, a few months before our nation’s 200th birthday, I had already read about Cummings and had been influenced by his work.
Thank you Honorable Representative Cummings for serving as a personal role model and offering a lifetime of inspiration. Activism and advocacy is not an easy road, but a necessary one.