Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings’ American story is rooted in the core values of hard work, faith, giving back to her community, and never taking rights and opportunities for granted. As the daughter of a 20-year Air Force veteran, military life gave Maya and her family the opportunity to live in diverse communities, and the security of access to affordable health care and a quality education. Maya’s family was active in their community, the Democratic Party and their church.
Growing up, she was also influenced by her parents’ stories about their earlier lives in the Jim Crow South, with separate water fountains and seating areas, and segregated schools that closed during harvest season so that black and brown kids could pick cotton in the field. Keenly aware of the great sacrifices previous generations made in the face of brutality and a rigged discriminatory system to build a better life for their children, Maya devoted her life’s work to honoring the sacrifices of the past by pushing for a more equal and inclusive future that expands opportunities for all.
Throughout Maya’s career, she has fought for those who have been historically left out of our nation’s wealth and prosperity. In her roles as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill, at the National Urban League, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Maya worked to address disparities in health care, especially for communities of color and Black women; advocated for our children’s health and wellbeing across the country; and led the fight to push back against President George W. Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security. In 2005, Maya joined the board of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and was elected Board Chair in 2012, the first African American woman to hold that position.
A small business owner since 2005, Maya has worked to strengthen and expand opportunities for entrepreneurs in Baltimore, helping to launch Goldman Sachs 10,000 Businesses Initiative, which supported entrepreneurs and helped small businesses grow in the greater Baltimore area. Maya’s experience as an entrepreneur and her policy work give her important insight into addressing the challenges our economy, workforce, and businesses large and small face in a changing 21st century global economy.
A lifelong champion for social justice, human rights and strengthening the wellbeing of kids, seniors, families, and workers, Maya has served on a number of boards dedicated to improving the lives of the people in her community and around the country, including Year Up Baltimore, the Baltimore Museum of Art, National Association of Counties Financial Services Corporation, Economic Policy Institute, National Academy of Social Insurance, National Council on Aging, Sustainable Health Enterprises, and Campaign for America’s Future.
In October 2017, Maya launched her campaign for Governor, running in part on a platform of protecting health care for Marylanders from Republican efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act and overhaul the nation’s health care system. She dropped out of the race in January 2018 to help her late husband Congressman Elijah Cummings recover from health issues.
Maya’s commitment to serving Maryland led her to put her name forward for Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party in 2018; she was nominated by Maureen Evans Arthurs from Howard County and Sheila Ruth from Baltimore County and elected to be Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. In this volunteer role, she worked to implement her Go DEEP strategy focused on strengthening the party at the grassroots, registering more Marylanders to vote, supporting local candidates, protecting voters, and strengthening Maryland’s role ahead of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
In 2008, Maya married the love of her life, the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, whom she’d met while working on Capitol Hill in the late 90s. Maya and her dog Andy reside in Baltimore’s Madison Park neighborhood in the home Congressman Cummings lived in for more than thirty years. A woman of faith, Maya attends New Psalmist Baptist Church where her late husband was also a long time member.
Throughout her life, Maya’s driving principle has been to create a more equal and inclusive society for everyone. She has devoted her career to closing racial, socioeconomic, and gender disparities to create opportunities for every single American. She believes the future of our country belongs to everyone, and in Congress she’ll fight every day to make that a reality.