Yesterday (May 25) would have been the 24th birthday of Kalief Browder and while sadly he’s not here to celebrate with us, the folks in a Bronx community decided to give a gift to his family and the city that would last a lifetime.
The city decided to change the name of the northwest corner of E. 181st St and Prospect Ave. to “Kalief Browder Way”. The street sign was revealed around 10 a.m by council members and the Browder family, according to officials.
“Renaming a street that will bear his name is not merely an honor for him; it will stand as a moral inspiration to the rest of us. The virtue of one’s life is measured by the impact that one has on others. Those of you who knew Kalief are better people for having known him. And those of us who knew of Kalief are better for having been awakened and inspired by his struggle for justice. None of us will ever be the same again. The criminal justice system as we know it will never be the same again. And we all have Kalief Browder to thank for that.” – Council Member Ritchie Torres
We all became extremely aware and educated with Kalief’s story following the Spike TV docu-series released earlier this year. This documentary created awareness surrounding Browder’s case and the many injustices faced in the prison system. Akeem Browder, Kalief’s brother credited the docu-series saying, “This is our family’s second year, since Kalief’s untimely death; dealing with the loss that not only affects us but everyone who took heart to his story.”
— SPIKE (@spike) May 25, 2017
Browder was wrongly accused of stealing a backpack, which landed him behind bars. He spent three years (yes, three years) at Rikers Island simply awaiting trial and subsequently was never found guilty of a crime. Out of those three years at Rikers, he spent two in solitary confinement and tried to commit suicide multiple times while behind bars.
Prosecutors eventually dropped the charged against Kalief, but the pain and mental distress that Browder endured while at Rikers Island was too much to deal with. Sadly, Kalief killed himself two years after his release and his memory hasn’t faded one bit.
Now that a street is named after him in the Bronx, his memory REALLY won’t fade. RIP Kalief.