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News & Press: NABJ News

NABJ Mourns the Loss of Congressman Donald Payne, NJ’s First Black Representative

Tuesday, March 6, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Aprill Turner
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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 political opportunities.

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 globe.

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.



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