Baltimore-area high school students who share an interest in social justice join together at a Social Justice Teen Summit. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun video)
Just a few miles separate African-American neighborhoods of West Baltimore from Jewish enclaves to the north, and Rep. Elijah Cummings has sought for years to unite these teens across his district.
On Sunday, he brought his message to one more class of them, telling a conference room of boys and girls they aren't so different from one another.
"We have a tendency to categorize people. We say, 'I'm not going to hang with you because you're black. I'm not going to hang with you because you're Jewish," he told them. "What we're trying to do is represent what it feels like to be in somebody else's shoes."
When Jaina Maultsby traveled to Israel nearly a decade ago with a program created by Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings it was the first time she had ever left the country, stepped on an airplane or been forced to live with people from vastly different backgrounds.
Cummings addressed teens during a social justice summit organized by his nonprofit youth program; some 75 students signed up. Those from the youth program and from Jewish neighborhoods in Baltimore came to hear his address, then discuss social justice issues, such as gun violence, school funding and food deserts.
Congressman Elijah Cummings talks about the need for the Mueller report to be released and the fact that "we've got at least six committees in the House, the United States House, looking at him." (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun video)
"It's absolutely mandatory, as far as I'm concerned, that the Mueller report be released and the underlying data be released," Cummings told reporters before his address.
He expected to see the report as soon as Sunday night, he said. "We will go through it very carefully."
Read the full transcript of Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings’ closing remarks at the hearing of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in front of the House Oversight Committee.
By Baltimore Sun staff
Feb 28, 2019 | 8:55 AM
Then he walked out to the crowd of high school students and volunteers. About a dozen of them were members of the Elijah Cummings Youth Program, the 21-year-old nonprofit that introduces African-American teens to their Jewish counterparts. The course runs two years and sends each student on a summer trip to Israel. Back home, they meet monthly and discoverthat Jewish and African-American cultures share a history of persecution.
"A lot of the things that the Jewish community goes through are similar to the African-Americans," said Austen Roberson, 17, an African-American student at Howard High School in Ellicott City.
In wide-ranging remarks, Cummings spoke of how he valued opinions from younger generations. In his committee, he sought out freshman Democratic members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
"I wanted their fresh thinking," he said. "We have to work with our young people so they can take our places."