Venida Browder, the mother of late Kalief Browder, died at 63 on Friday at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx from heart complications, reports the New York Daily News.
Last year, Kalief committed suicide after being released from Rikers Island, where she spent 3 years in solitary confinement on theft charges, that were eventually dropped. Earlier this month during his press conference in New York City, Jay Z announced that he has plans to produce a 6-part documentary series on Kalief’s life, and Venida was in attendance.
Paul Prestia, a lawyer for the Browder family, said, “[Venida] 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. 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.”
“Venida Browder was a loving mother who fought tirelessly for justice,” said City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Despite the city failing her and Kalief, she firmly believed that we could work to create a more fair and just system. She was a champion of criminal justice reform. Venida was a woman of immense courage and boundless optimism. When you were with her, it was impossible to not feel hopeful about a better future. It is now up to us to continue her work. My deepest condolences to the Browder family.”