Civil Rights

America was founded on the belief that all men and women were created equal.  Unfortunately, this right hasn’t applied to everyone.  For generations, Blacks and other minorities have faced racism and discrimination in schools, offices, and our legal system.  It is a systemic racism that I have experienced personally and witnessed in all aspects of society.   

I have made it a priority in Congress to do everything I could to fix these long-standing problems.  That is why I was proud to vote for the Parren Mitchell Minority Business Education and Empowerment Act (H.R. 2639).  This bill would require the Small Business Administration to award grants to historically Black colleges and universities to establish entrepreneurship courses for undergraduate or graduate studies and create small business development centers on the campuses of each school.  It will help create more Black entrepreneurs and more minority small business across the country. 

There are other bills I support to deal with different aspects of racism in America.  I voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120), which would bring much-needed reform to police departments across America.  This bill would increase accountability of law enforcement misconduct and ban police department practices such as chokeholds and the use of “no-knock” warrants in drug cases.

Also, I cosponsored the End Racial Profiling Act (H.R. 4339), which would establish a framework to end racial profiling at all levels of law enforcement.  Racial profiling can only be stopped through a coordinated effort at all levels of government.

Another aspect of equal justice is making sure all Americans have the same right to vote.  I am proud to have voted for the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act (H.R. 4), named after the late Congressman Lewis. Congressman Lewis was not only a civil rights leader, he was one of my “fathers on the House floor,” who mentored me when I first became a Member of Congress.  This bill would empower the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and remove the actions of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which weakened Voting Rights Act protections.

But my vote and support for Congressional bills is only one of my actions to empower our communities of color.  I conduct forums and discussion to hear ideas on how to empower our minority businesses and neighborhoods throughout the year with members of these communities, such as small business owners, teachers, university administrators, and the clergy.  Then I bring these ideas to Congress to write letters and create bills to address those issues.  I know we need to work together to improve the health, security and prosperity of our communities of color and end the country’s systemic racism. 

More on Civil Rights

February 25, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. voted for the Equality Act today.  The bill (H.R. 5) would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in a wide range of areas, including employment, housing, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs, education, credit opportunities, and jury service. 

February 4, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

January 8, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

December 4, 2020 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. voted for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act today.  The bill (H.R. 3884) would decriminalize marijuana nationwide, require federal courts to delete prior marijuana convictions for Americans, and save taxpayers at least $3.6 billion per year.     

September 19, 2020 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. released the following statement regarding the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died September 18, 2020.  Justice Ginsburg was a strong defender of gender equity and justice in her 27 years as a Supreme Court Justice.   

September 17, 2020 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. is proud to announce that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $300,000 to the Black and Latino Technology Angel Investment Fund of New Jersey at the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers University (Rutgers CUEED).  The fund helps fulfill the Center’s overall goals to promote more minority small business start-ups in Newark, NJ.