BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In his more than two decades representing Maryland in Congress, Rep. Elijah Cummings worked with numerous community groups in an effort to improve conditions in Baltimore and beyond.

Cummings was known for his work on racial justice and healthcare, among other issues. After his sudden death on Thursday morning, some of those groups are sharing their condolences.

Jacqueline Copeland, the executive director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, remembered the longtime congressman as someone with a powerful voice for good and a man of the people.

“He would befriend you, he would befriend the maintenance worker, he was a friend to everyone in Baltimore and spoke up for the rights of those people,” Copeland said.

Cummings will also soon be featured in the museum, she said.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Cummings fought for better access to healthcare.

In a statement to WJZ, Vince DeMarco, the president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative said in part “no one had done more to advance public health and healthcare coverage for Marylanders and all Americans than Representative Elijah Cummings.”

Cummings also sat on the visitors’ board at the University of Maryland Law School, from which he graduated in 1976.

“His real passion was students so he would come back and talk to the students and talk about how they could be leaders and how they could use their law degree to be social justice improvers,” law school dean Donald Tobin said.

Other policy initiatives Cummings was known for were working to increase funding for public education and banning tobacco and alcohol ads on inner-city billboards.

Remembering his work, Al Hutchinson, the president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, said in part Cummings “left an incredible legacy in the United States and may we all keep his spirit alive by seeking truth, fighting for equality and believing in the great city of Baltimore.”

Kelsey Kushner

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