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

July 21, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

June 25, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. released the following statement regarding the 22-year and six-month prison sentence given to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.  Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for killing Mr. Floyd after he knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. 

May 25, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

May 24, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

May 17, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

April 20, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. released the following statement regarding the jury’s guilty verdict on all counts for Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020 after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. 

April 6, 2021 Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov