WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Charles Rangel released the following statement on the passing of Congressman Donald M. Payne (NJ-10) on Tuesday March 6, 2012:

“I cannot fully express my sadness over the death of my dearest friend and Congressional Black Caucus Colleague Congressman Donald Payne. Today his constituents in New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District, our Colleagues in Congress, people across America and around the globe mourn the loss of a great man, leader and humanitarian. Donald was a champion of the lesser among us who saw wrong and fought tirelessly to make it right.

Donald sought to give every child a quality education and a fair chance at success no matter where they came from. For over 23 years in Congress, as former Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Member of the House Committee on Education, he advocated for low-income students across our nation. Moreover, as a Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Donald worked passionately to restore democracy and human rights in Africa and throughout world. Donald and I shared a vision in giving Americans from all walks of life the opportunity to serve and represent our nation abroad. His most recent accomplishment before he passed was the creation of USAID’s Donald Payne Development Fellowship which I am proud to say is modeled after the U.S. Department of State’s Rangel Fellowship program. Thanks to Donald’s efforts young Americans will have the opportunity to continue Donald’s legacy of promoting peace and compassion to the rest of world.

I will deeply miss my brother Donald Payne whose kindness and commitment to humanity will forever be remembered. My deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”