Ghanaians in New Jersey Mourn US Rep. Donald Payne, Sr.

By Kwabena Opong

Ghanaians in Newark were among a number of Newark residents who thronged the Newark Court building on Monday, March 12 to view the body of U.S. Congressman Donald M. Payne who died on Tuesday, March 6. Rep. Payne was the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus foundation whose mission is to advance the global black community by developing leaders through internship and fellowship programs, informing policy and educating the public.

The Ghanaians led by Dr. Zachary A. Yamba, ex-president of the Essex County College in Newark, NJ sent a delegation to mourn with the family of the late Congressman further to Rep. Payne’s work in the United States Congress for Sub-Saharan Africa and his concern and active involvement with the African community in his constituency. Among the Ghanaians was Nana Gyensare V, Piankohene of Akwamu in the Eastern Region of Ghana who performed some traditional rites as an enstooled chief. Taking a seat in front of the body as it laid in state, Nana Gyensare dressed in red and black, made libation to the gods asking for a smooth transition for the fallen congressman and prayers for his family, residents of Newark and all whose lives have been touched by Rep. Payne.

Dr. Zachary Yamba took the floor after the libation and paid homage to the congressman on behalf of Ghanaians. He recalled Rep. Payne’s work for Africa and the black world in the United States Congress and the lives he touched. Dr. Yamba expressed the gratitude of the Ghanaian community to the family of the late congressman for their forbearance. He expressed the condolences of the Ghanaian community to the family and hoped that they would take consolation from the selfless work Donald Payne, Sr. did in his life as a U.S. Congressman.

Donald Payne, Jr., President of the Newark City Council and the son of the late congressman expressed gratitude on his own behalf and on behalf of his family for the Ghanaian community’s commiseration with them. He mentioned his father’s work for Africa and added that Mr. Payne really loved Africa. “When asked if he loved Israel, he would say yes but he would ask back: do you love Africa?” “That is how he loved Africa,” Donald, Jr. said. Donald Payne, Sr. traveled the length and breadth of Africa fighting on the continent’s behalf at the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Not only did he love Africa, he loved all people, Donald, Jr. said.

In his career as the U.S. Congressman for 10th District, Mr. Payne championed the cause of America’s working families. He worked for the passage of such laws as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Worker Health and Safety legislation and America’s Affordably Health Choices Act of 2009.

He was also a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, serving as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights and as a member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

Rep Payne co-founded with former First Lady Laura Bush the Malaria Caucus, successfully raising $50 million for prevention, control and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis. He worked hard also for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.

U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, Sr. was a recipient of several awards the world over and all over the United States. He was a widower and the father of three, grandfather of four and the great grandfather of one.

The event was organized by the Council of Ghanaian Associations of New Jersey (COGANJ).


Posted by on Mar 15 2012. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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