A Bronx intersection has been renamed in honor of the late Kalief Browder on what would have been his 24th birthday.
Browder took his life at 22 years old in his family’s Bronx home after a traumatizing three-year imprisonment at Rikers Island. In March, Spike TV aired “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story,” a six-part documentary series that shed light on the repeated injustices Browder faced. He went to Rikers at 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack, but was never convicted.
The Thursday morning unveiling of Kalief Browder Way ― at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and East 181 Street ― is just one of a number of remembrances to take place after the airing of the docuseries, which was executive produced by Jay Z.
Just a week before the docuseries’ final episode in late March, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a 10-year plan to close Rikers. On April 10, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ― alongside Browder’s family ― signed a bill to prohibit the state from continuing to charge 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. In that same month, city Public Advocate Letitia James began campaigning for the island to be named after Browder when the prison closes.
The unveiling was hosted by Browder’s family, members of the City Council and criminal justice reform advocates.