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Congressman Cummings leaves behind legacy of mentoring, creating opportunities for youth

Posted at 4:56 PM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 18:11:36-04

BALTIMORE — Throughout his career, Congressman Cummings dedicated lots of time to mentoring youth, creating new opportunities for them and supporting organizations making a difference in Baltimore and beyond.

Tonight, Elijah Cummings is being remembered as so many things, a trailblazer, a fighter for justice and an advocate for young people.

Many of the organizations he invested his time, money and passion into were focused on bettering the next generation and tonight, those organizations, those students he helped, are remembering him.

In his 68 years, so much was achieved, so many people were impacted and on Tuesday a single message stands out to many.

"He had this saying that always stuck with me, that our children are the living messages we send to the future we will never see and that really resonates with everything he did," said Howard Libit.

One of those things he invested his time into was creating the Elijah Cummings Youth Program. For two years, students learned about leadership and public service, and traveled to Israel as a way to promote better relationships between Baltimore’s African American and Jewish communities.

"Over the years they’ve touched hundreds of students who come back to Baltimore with a deeper understanding of the importance of interfaith relations, the importance of exploring the world," Libit continued.

It began 20 years ago and the Executive Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council Howard Libit said Cummings was always personally invested.

"He personally called each student to welcome them to the program, he would write college recommendations and students remained close to him throughout, long after they graduated from the program," Libit said.

Cummings was also known for his annual job fairs where he partnered with state and local entities.

"Cummings was a passionate advocate for Baltimore City," said Derrick Taliaferro. "He supported and aligned with us in so many ways."

Cummings and his wife also served on their board, Taliaferro recalled his speech at their graduation a few years back, where he told students they should always strive to learn, one of the many legacies he left behind.

"He was always was a voice for champions of Baltimore and our youth," Taliaferro said. "It’s very important for us to identify and remember that we have to continue his legacy and continue to move forward.

Libit said he's heartbroken of what Baltimore has lost.

"Whoever takes his seat in congress has huge shoes to fill not just down in Washington, but here in the baltimore area too," Libit said.