June 6, 2018, marks the third anniversary of the day Kalief Browder took his own life, after spending three years in prison without conviction for stealing a backpack. He spent two of those years in solitary confinement, and upon his release, Kalief's story tragically ended in suicide in 2015.
His death prompted a broader conversation about criminal justice reform around many platforms, including Jay-Z's documentary, Time: The Kalief Browder Story.
On Wednesday, June 6, Kalief's brother, Akeem, announced a pledge to "fight to end wealth-based detention and reduce jail populations with real speedy trial, discovery and bail reform."
I lost my brother Kalief three years ago today. To honor his memory, I’m in Albany asking lawmakers to pledge to End Wealth-Based Detention. Join us at https://t.co/Vc3JE7CXCv #IStandwithKalief pic.twitter.com/iPxB39mYmt— KaliefBrowderWay (@AkeemBrowderNYC) June 6, 2018
According to the New York Daily News, Akeem is set to address the state's legislators, citing disappointment in Governor Andrew Cuomo's failure to deliver on the criminal justice reforms he promised at his State of State Address in January.
The reform proposal did not make it into the final budget in March, however. This prompted Akeem to decline an invitation to appear in Cuomo's third term campaign video.
“I let him know I reserve the right to hold my nomination until I see what’s going to happen for our community; what the governor is going to do for Kalief,” Browder said. “He started off this year with his announcement, and it gave me a lot of encouragement to think this year we could get it done. We can still get it done. It’s just not with the governor’s help.”
“We share in his anger and frustration at the lack of criminal justice reform, which is one of many critically important issues being blocked by the Senate Republicans,” said Cuomo's spokesman Richard Azzopardi. “This is why the Governor is doing everything in his power to flip the Senate and get these reforms passed once and for all."
Akeem wants to keep the pressure on elected officials by posting the pledges online so that it is available to the public.
You can learn more about the Kalief Browder Foundation at kaliefbrowderfoundation.com. Rest in power, Kalief.
Three years ago today, #KaliefBrowder took his life after he was incarcerated for three years on Rikers Island (two in solitary confinement), awaiting trail for a crime he didn't commit. Today, his brother Akeem Browder is pressing New York lawmakers to sign a pledge to end cash bail and reform the state's unjust pretrial system. Rest in power, Kalief. ✊????