On this day, June 6th, 2015, a 22 year old hanged himself. His name was Kalief Browder. At only 16 years old (!!!!!), he was arrested for suspicion of stealing a backpack. (Keyword: SUSPICION) There was NO evidence that tied this young boy (again— 16 YEARS OLD) to the crime. Just the foggy memory of the “victim”. I put victim in quotation marks, because the real victim here, was Kalief and if you know his fate, you know why.
After his arrest, Kalief’s family struggled to find the money to bail him out until it no longer mattered whether they could come up with it or not. The Dept of Probation filed a “violation of probation” against Kalief and the judge remanded him without bail. He was at the mercy of an unjust court system, the violent, adult criminals of Rikers Island, and power tripping guards who tasted blood. Though he faced this hell every waking second of his life, Kalief always maintained his innocence. He refused to confess to a crime he did not commit.
We like to think that if we‘re good, life will find a way to be good in return, that life will find a way of taking care of us, a way to be gentle with us. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work this way. Instead sometimes, as vessels, our lives are not for us, they are for the change we can impact on others through our own struggle and pain. Some endure so others don’t have to.
Kalief was imprisoned at 16 in Rikers Island, accused of stealing a book bag and endured countless, brutal beatings at the hands of grown inmates as well as the disgusting guards. Altogether, Kalief spent about TWO YEARS in solitary confinement. After 3 years, the case crumbled because it had no legs to stand on, but the toll it took on this young man’s life would haunt him until he could take no more.
On June 6, 2015, he hung himself. He was only 22.
On Oct 16, 2016, his devoted and loving Mother died of a broken heart.
God bless both of their souls, all who mourn them.