Press Release

Statements of AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson on the Death of US Rep. Elijah Cummings

For Release: 

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Elena Temple

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson issued the following statements on the death of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.):

AFT President Randi Weingarten:

"A giant has been taken from us. Rep. Cummings, the son of sharecroppers, understood why justice was important, and he acted in the cause of freedom and democracy his entire career. He stood for and with Americans—not just those living in his district—but the many people whom this economy has left behind. And his work in the last two years may have been the most profound: safeguarding our democracy.

"On behalf of the AFT's 1.7 million educators, nurses and healthcare professionals, and public employees, we are deeply saddened that Rep. Cummings has left us too soon. At a time when moral and civil leadership is most needed, Rep. Cummings truly understood that our nation's democracy is under assault and embraced the responsibility of speaking truth to power. 

"Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with his family, his congressional colleagues and his vast network of loved ones who will dearly miss him. May his memory be for a blessing.” 

AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson:

"As someone who was born and raised in Maryland's 7th Congressional District, I had the distinct honor of watching Elijah Cummings' tireless work up close, and I am proud to have partnered with him on many important issues affecting our nation. 

"Rep. Cummings’ name and spirit imbued so many of the positive changes we’ve seen over the last several decades, through legislation, through his words, and through never forgetting his roots.

"This is such a terrible loss, and I know the people of his community are hurting like I am today. I extend my prayers and condolences to his wife and the rest of his family, whom I have the pleasure of knowing well. Both Baltimore and the entire country will miss him deeply."



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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.