STATEMENT: Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden on the Tragic Passing of Denzel Cummings

Washington, D.C. — Today, Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden released the following statement on the passing of former American Progress staffer Denzel Cummings:

A few days ago, the progressive movement lost one of its brightest stars with the sudden and unexpected passing of Denzel Cummings at the far-too-young age of 26. This news comes as a shock to all who knew Denzel, and his passing is simply devastating.

Denzel recently left the CAP Action War Room to relocate to his home state of North Carolina in order to join Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. While we were all sad to see him go, we were also immensely proud to see our colleague moving on to join a campaign he believed in, in his own Tar Heel State.

From the moment Denzel joined the War Room in mid-2017, he became a treasured colleague and friend to many. He was a stalwart member of the War Room staff, fighting hard to hold those accountable who worked against the causes of justice and took advantage of the vulnerable. As a campaign associate in the War Room, a large part of Denzel’s role was building relationships with local, state, and national partners, and helping to run a coalition of more than 300 progressive partners and allies. For those who knew him, you’d easily understand how incredibly well-suited he was for this work: His selflessness opened doors and built relationships for CAP and the distribution of our work, and the joy he brought to these tough fights made him the sort of happy warrior who could grow our movement. He cared deeply about education issues, which he worked on before coming to CAP and continued to prioritize every day.

Denzel was a leader in the CAP Union, and his colleagues couldn’t have asked for a better representative and negotiator. In my work with him through the union over several years, I saw his commitment to justice and equality, and he did much to contribute to positive change at CAP. He cared deeply about CAP and the progressive cause. This is a terrible loss not only for the Warren campaign and for CAP, but also for the larger progressive community and for the issues that Denzel believed in. I know he would have been a leader of those causes one day, which makes his loss all the more heartbreaking.

It seems not enough to say our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. Our hearts break with them and for them. May he rest in peace.

For more information, contact Allison Preiss at or 202-478-6331.