NABJ Mourns the Loss of Congressman Donald Payne, NJ’s First Black Representative
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Posted by: Aprill Turner
WASHINGTON, DC (March 6, 2012) --The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) mourns the
passing of Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey. Mr. Payne holds a unique
place in American history as the first African-American elected to the United
States Congress from the state of New Jersey.
"As journalists we spend our careers
covering the ordinary and extraordinary. As the first African-American elected
to the Congress from New Jersey Congressman Payne will forever hold a unique
place in history," said NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr.
At the time of his death the Congressman was the
sitting chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Mr. Payne served as
Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus from 1995-1996.
When elected, as the Black Caucus Foundation
Chair in 2010 Payne his work would be to ensure that conversations were had
which underlined the importance of equity in economic, educational, and
Throughout his career Payne has also focused
extensively on international affairs as a member of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee. He has advocated for the protection of human rights throughout the
According to his biography Payne the ranking
member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights authored
the Sudan Peace Act, a measure to facilitate famine relief efforts and a
comprehensive solution to the war in Sudan, which was approved by
Congress. He also worked on global health initiatives geared towards
the prevention and control of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.
Congressman Payne died Tuesday in his home state
after a brief battle with colon cancer. NABJ offers condolences to the
Congressman’s family who suffer the loss of a father, grandfather, and
great-grandfather, his fellow members of the CBC who suffer the loss of a colleague
and a friend, to his constituents who suffer the loss of an advocate, and to
the community at large who suffers the loss of a political pioneer.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is
the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, and provides
educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.