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We’re Better Than This

February 25, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm PST

Presented in partnership with LANGSTON and Estelita’s Library. This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation:

James Dale And Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Discuss “We’re Better Than This”

Join us for a conversation about the late Representative Elijah Cummings’ life and legacy.

Thursday, February 25, 2021 | 6 – 7 pm PST


Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a social entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and strategist who’s on a mission to drive society toward inclusion. After a quarter of a century of working on innovative public policy and multimillion-dollar social change initiatives in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors, Maya is a policy and political expert who understands how to build and sustain cross-sector collaborations, diverse coalitions, dynamic diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, and effective education campaigns. An accomplished public speaker and author, Maya has appeared in a variety of media outlets such as CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and BET and her writings have been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post among other publications. She has served on numerous boards including the National Association of Counties Financial Services Corporation, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the National Academy of Social Insurance. She is the recipient of multiple honors such as the Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellowship Award and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellowship Award and has been a candidate for Maryland governor and the U.S. Congress. A former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, Maya earned her B.A. in political science from Prairie View A&M University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in political science, with an emphasis in public policy, from Purdue University. She is the widow of the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings and lives in West Baltimore with her dog Andy.

James Dale has been an author-collaborator on a number of books on topics including business, medicine, and life lessons. His works include Together We Were Eleven Foot Nine with Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer; The Power of Nice with agent-negotiator Ron Shapiro; Alpha Docs with Johns Hopkins Cardiologist Dr. Dan Munoz,  Just Show Up with Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken Jr.; and The Q Factor with Super Bowl-winning coach Brian Billick.


Known for his poise, intellect, and influence until his death in October 2019, Elijah Cummings was one of the most respected figures in contemporary politics, a politician who held fast to his beliefs but was not afraid to reach across the aisle in the name of friendship and progress. Since his earliest days in government through his time as a representative and chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, he proved his abilities as a politician who could operate at the highest levels of democracy, serving the people of Baltimore and illustrating the importance of working with—and for—the underdog.

Yet in his final years of life, Cummings recognized that democracy was the underdog. We’re Better Than This draws from Cummings’s own life to show the formative moments that prepared him for the disturbing first years of the Trump presidency and spurred him to hold the administration accountable for their actions. Weaving together the urgent drama of modern-day politics and character-defining stories from his past, Cummings offers a never-before-told perspective on how his personal history, coming of age in South Baltimore, laid the foundation of a life spent fighting for justice. He goes behind the scenes with the House Democratic leadership, offering an eye-opening chronicle of the grim realities of holding the Trump administration to account. Detailing this moment of unprecedented obstructionism by both the president and Republicans, Cummings presents a vital defense of how government oversight defines our collective trust, examining the dangerous precedent for both parties that exists if the executive branch remains above public scrutiny.

Part memoir, part call to action, We’re Better Than This is the story of our modern-day democracy and the threats that we all must face together, as well as a retrospective on the life and career of one of our country’s most inspirational politicians.


February 25, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm PST


Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Ave South
Seattle, 98144 United States


Seattle Public Library
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