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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora