Officials announced on Wednesday that a Bronx street corner will be renamed after Kalief Browder, the young man who, after committing suicide at 22, brought attention nationwide to the fight to close Riker’s Island as well as other issues in the U.S. criminal justice system.
The corner of E. 181st St. and Prospect Ave. will now be “Kalief Browder Way,” and his family joined both elected officials and activists campaigning for the jail to be closed at the newly renamed corner on Thursday.
Browder’s suicide sparked a national conversation as more and more details came out about his treatment at Riker’s Island, where he was kept for three years without actually being convicted of a crime. He was 16 years old when he was accused of stealing a backpack, but because his family could not afford the $3,000 bail, he was forced to stay in the jail, where he endured beatings and abuse, including 400 days in solitary confinement.
The charges against him were eventually dropped, but Browder had been so affected by his time at Riker’s that he eventually took his own life. His mom, Venida Browder, died in October due to complications from a heart attack, though many feel she ultimately died of a broken heart.