News

    US Representative Donald Payne Dead at 77

    Africare president Darius Mans mourns the passing of 'the conscience of the Congress on Africa.'

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Ashenafi Abedje

    The eastern U.S. state of New Jersey's first black congressman, Representative Donald Payne, has died after a battle with colon cancer.  Sources close to the 77-year-old Payne say he died Tuesday at a New Jersey hospital.  U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday expressed his condolences to Payne's family at the end of a news briefing. He called Payne "a wonderful man" and a friend who "did great work, both domestically and internationally."

    Payne announced last month that he was undergoing cancer treatment, but said he would continue to represent his district. The lawmaker had held his congressional seat since 1988 and was elected to a 12th term in 2010.

    US Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., reacts while sitting in the audience during a ceremony to honor him by naming a plaza at the Essex County court complex the Congressman Donald M. Payne Plaza in Newark, New Jersey, April 20, 2009.
    US Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., reacts while sitting in the audience during a ceremony to honor him by naming a plaza at the Essex County court complex the Congressman Donald M. Payne Plaza in Newark, New Jersey, April 20, 2009.

    Payne drew international attention in April 2009, when during a visit to Somalia, insurgents fired mortar shells toward the Mogadishu airport as he was departing the capital city by plane. Payne left the airport safely, but there were civilian injuries from the mortar fire.

    Payne had been in Somalia to meet with the president and prime minister about piracy, security and cooperation.

    Africare President Darius Mans was among the first to react to the death of Congressman Donald Payne. He said the congressman’s passing is a real loss for the United States and Africa.

    “He was a great champion for Africa,” he said. “I can never forget his level of personal commitment. Whenever you needed something done on Africa, he made sure it happened.”

    Mans said whether it took phone calls to the White House or rallying members of the U.S. Congress, “Donald Payne always delivered for Africa.”

    During part of his long tenure in Congress, Payne served as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health.

    Africare President Darius Mans said Congressman Payne’s Africa legacy is significant.

    “From Sudan to Rwanda to the fight to end apartheid, no member of congress was more of a champion for Africa.” He said, “Congressman Payne helped secure more than 100-million dollars for HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa. He was a real champion for Sudan and the recognition of South Sudan.”

    On the home front, Donald Payne was the first African American elected to represent New Jersey in Congress. Mans said Payne pursued twin missions during his decades of public service.

    “He saw his constituency as including Africa, in addition to representing New Jersey so well,” he said. “I think Donald Payne will go down as the conscience of the congress on Africa.”

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Payne
    March 07, 2012 6:38 PM
    When a strong person like Mr. Payne passes away America loses one more dedicated citizen. His place is amongst the giants, the void he lefts behind will be difficult to fill. However, we need not to be saddened by his passing, but be comforted by his work and achievements. He has done so much to help advance the causes of justice for minorities throughout NJ and the United States. Rest in Peace Mr. Payne, you will be missed.

    by: aster gebremariam
    March 07, 2012 9:52 AM
    What can I say, it is a major loss after all. God be with your family.

    by: Larry McFaddeb
    March 07, 2012 9:37 AM
    A great man has walked amongst us and too few of us even know of him in other parts of the United States. He was a true friend, confidant and humanitarian in his service to his District and our Nation.

    by: Tom
    March 07, 2012 8:43 AM
    Seriously,journalists should know what's important and what's not.Some out of context issues are given priority while more great news is left out or barely mentionrd for those who really want to get hold of crucial information the world over!

    by: Gerald Sobel
    March 07, 2012 7:28 AM
    Wow. A great American passed away. I was born in Bayonne, but living in California for the last 44 years, I'd never heard of him. Things like trashy B movie actresses shop lifting are way more important than knowing about such great people. But what do you expect when the average journalist is someone who flunked out as an English major.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora