You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Till It’s Gone: Remembering Kalief Browder.
by Kleaver Cruz
Do you remember who you were when you were 16? The places where you spent most of your time? Whom you were there with?
At 16 years old, Kalief Browder was alone. He was labeled with a mix of letters and numbers that made a new identity he wasn’t supposed to have. Kalief found himself amongst the overcrowded and disproportionately large population of Riker’s Island, isolated in a cell where light was hard to find and company impossible to keep. Allegedly, he had stolen a book bag. He was guilty in the state’s eyes whether he had committed the crime or not.
I believe him. I believe that he was innocent and forced to live as guilty because he was a Black boy whom the law saw as a criminal Black man. I believe his stories of how people continued to hurt him again and again because…
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