kalief browder’s brother pens tragic mother’s day note
By Erin White
May 13, 2019
Mother’s Day means different things to different families. For Kalief Browder’s household, Mother’s Day will never be the same. The Browder family also lost their matriarch, Venida Browder, a little over a year after her son’s suicide. A crusader for criminal justice and wrongful criminalization of Black boys and men, Venida spent her final months fighting to shine a spotlight on the abuse and trauma her son experienced while imprisoned at New York’s Rikers Island jail.
“She was a woman of incredible grace and compassion who tirelessly fought for justice for her son Kalief, and who championed the civil rights of others in our city,” said Paul Prestia, Browder’s lawyer. “But the stress from this crusade coupled with the strain of the pending lawsuits against the city and the pain from the death were too much to for her to bear. In my opinion, she literally died of a broken heart.”
Browder was just 16-years-old when he was jailed after a teen accused him of robbing him for his backpack. When his family couldn’t make his $3,000 bail, Browder sat at Rikers for three years, enduring beatings by guards and 400 days in solitary confinement before the charges against him were finally dropped. On June 6, 2015, Browder died of suicide.
This year, Deion Browder, one of the 34 children Venida raised as a foster parent and adoptive mother penned a heartbreaking letter to his mom, whom he is still mourning.
“If I was granted one more day with you, I wouldn’t say a word. I would just hug you and not let go. You are and will forever be my rock, my inspiration, my angel, my idol. You are everything I want to be. I know you are proud of me, but really, I’m so proud of you — for all that you have done, for all you have accomplished and for all you continue to achieve even though you’re no longer here.”
Read Deion’s entire letter to mother, Venida, here.
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