Kalief Browder’s story is still one of the darkest tales in the history of the American prison system.
After committing suicide at just 22 years old, the young man who served three years at Rikers Island (although he was never convicted), received a beautiful posthumous birthday gift this year. On Wednesday, officials announced that a Bronx street corner will be renamed in Browder’s honor.
According to reports, the corner o181st St. and Prospect Ave. will now be named “Kalief Browder Way.” His family joined both elected officials and activists at the newly renamed corner on Thursday. Browder’s treatment at Riker’s Island, which resulted in his suicide, sparked a national conversation about shutting down the notorious prison.
Kalief was 16 years old when he was accused of stealing a backpack, but because his family could not afford the $3,000 bail, he was forced to stay in the jail, where he endured beatings and abuse, including 400 days in solitary confinement. Jay Z recently produced a docuseries detailing the late young man’s life. The rapper even met Browder before he took his own life and his mom, who died in October due to complications from a heart attack — or a broken heart, as some may say.
Yesterday, Kalief would’ve been 24 years old. Happy birthday — your story will not be forgotten.