I recently started working at the Charmil Davis Foundation for Colon Cancer Support and Prevention and we recently took a trip to Newark NJ to visit Congressman Donald Payne Jr. We went to honor his father Congressman Donald M Payne, who was the first black congressman elected into Congress from NJ.
So when I was reading about the late Congressman Donald M Payne, I actually found his story incredible inspirational. Rep. Payne was elected into office in 1988 after losing twice in 1980 and 1986. He was born in Newark, NJ and grew up very poor. Despite all that, he graduated from Barringer High School and Seton Hall University. He was always so humble and always cared about the people around him. This motivated him to serve the people in public. Before his time in Congress, he served as city councilman from Newark and president of YMCA. He served as a teacher and began doing a social work in the neighborhood. After some in time, he ran for the House of Representatives in 1980 and 1986 and lost to the incumbent Democrat. He successfully ran and won in 1988. With his victory, he began the first black man to serve in Congress from NJ. Congressman Donald M Payne served in the House from 1989 until his death 2012.
Last Friday on Feb 2nd, I had an amazing opportunity to meet Congressman Payne’s son, Donald Payne Jr. As mentioned, I went with the Charmil Davis Foundation for Colon Cancer Support and Prevention. We visited Congressman Payne Jr because his late father was a mentor to Charmil Davis and supported her early career in journalism, which is why Congressman Payne Jr supported our foundation. Charmil always told us how important people are to Congressman which is what I found inspirational.
When we visited, Congressman Donald Payne Jr was talking about all of his father’s legacy. I was amazed by how humble he was. Congressman Payne Jr ran and won the special election that immediately followed his father’s passing. I just found that to be incredibly strong. After he talked about his father’s legacy, he talked about politics. What I took away was that it is very important for millennials to get interested in politics. The country is going to be ours, so it is important to always have faith in the government.
This is Charmil Davis who is the President and Founder of the Charmil Davis Foundation. She was a former White House journalist and is currently battling colon cancer. She is so strong and passionate and she is always talking about what its like to go through therapy and how much cancer patients really suffer. She always tells us (which I took to heart) is that we need to take care of people now and give what we can to help others. I think I will always admire her courage and passion.
One of our interns is Muslim and she mentioned that fact to Congressman Payne Jr. And as a result, he gave her a copy of the Quran. I thought that was amazing and the fact that he even had a Quran in his office is worth noting. And I thought that the edition looked beautiful.
And these are just group pictures that we took. On the left is with Congressman Payne Jr. and on the right is with a statue of the late Congressman Donald M Payne.