The tragic story of Kalief Browder has been told by many outlets. In May 2010, when Kalief was 16, he was thrown into Rikers Island jail, after another teen accused him of stealing a backpack. His family was unable to raise the $3,000 needed for bail, so Kalief stayed on The Island for three years, enduring torture enacted by guards and spending 400 days in solitary confinement…all for a crime he didn’t do. Traumatized by the experience, Kalief committed suicide in June 2015, at the age of 22.
Not only was the strain of Kalief’s unjust Rikers Island bid strenuous on him. It was also an arduous experience for his family, especially his mother, Venida Browder. Sadly, according to the NY Daily News, she passed away on Friday at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. She was 63. “She was a woman of incredible grace and compassion who tirelessly fought for justice for her son Kalief and who championed the civil rights of others in our city,” said family lawyer Paul Prestia. “But the stress from this crusade coupled with the strain of the pending lawsuits against the city and the pain from the death were too much to for her to bear. In my opinion she literally died of a broken heart.”
Venida Browder leaves behind six other children (Kalief was the youngest). Jay Z has also announced that he will be producing a six-part series on Kalief Browder in the near future.