On Friday, Civil Rights Activist Venida Browder lost her life. A “broken heart” was the cause of her death. Browder was more than just an activist, she was also the mother of, the late, Kalief Browder whose story shook the world. She advocated for a fairer justice system.
At 16 years old, Kalief was arrested for robbery and he served his three- year sentence at Rikers Island, one of New York’s most talked about prisons. He maintained his innocence but, the time that Kalief spent at Rikers was nothing short of horrible. He was placed in solitary confinement for two years and suffered abuse from the guards and the inmates.
Kalief was released in 2013 but, he struggled, mentally, as a result of the abuse that he dealt with at Rikers. Despite attending Bronx Community College and appearing to be doing well, Kalief battled with depression and paranoia, according to the Huffington Post. He attempted to take his own life on multiple occasions and, in June of 2015, Kalief hanged himself in Venida’s home. Of course, this took a toll on her as she tried her best to support her son and to encourage him to keep going despite being treated inhumanely at Rikers. The situation was wearing her down but, Venida showed the world that she was being strong for Kalief while the family dealt with the grief and the lawsuits against the city, one of them being for contributing to his wrongful death.
Venida Browder died from complications of a heart attack. She was 63 years-old.