Kalief Browder’s hometown recognized his legacy on what would have been his 24th birthday by renaming one of its streets after him.
The unveiling of Kalief Browder way in the Bronx. Your death wasn’t in vain. Rest easy King. pic.twitter.com/hjn7ivqH8f— PAYSO (@PaysoHF) May 26, 2017
Browder’s family members joined New York City Council member Ritchie Torres and speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in the Bronx yesterday (May 25) to unveil “Kalief Browder Way.” An emailed city council press release identifies the renamed block as the northwest corner of East 181st Street and Prospect Avenue in the city’s northernmost borough, which both Torres and-Mark Viverito represent.
Browder lived around the renamed street until age 16, when he was arrested on suspicion of stealing a backpack and incarcerated without trial for three years at Rikers Island Correctional Center. As documented in Spike TV’s “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” Browder endured 400 days in solitary confinement and beatings from both guards and other incarcerated men. He and his family’s quest for justice prompted calls for trial and sentencing reform. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio eventually promised to change trial waiting periods for minors, and recently announced a 10-year plan to close Rikers. Browder committed suicide in 2015, and his activist mother Venida died the following year.
“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,” Kalief’s brother Akeem said during yesterday’s naming ceremony, per the release. “Now, in the Bronx, his hometown, thanks to the leadership of Councilman Ritchie Torres and the 15th District, all that will gather for this street re-naming can look up and see ‘Kalief Browder Way,’ and think of the legacy he left for us to continue.”