NYC Politician Wants To Rename Rikers Island After Kalief Browder
UPDATE: Deion Browder, one of Kalief Browder’s older brothers, is not supportive of renaming Rikers Island after his deceased younger brother. During a Q&A that followed after a screening of TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, on Monday April 3, an audience member asked Deion what he thought about Public Advocate Letitia James wanting Rikers to be renamed after Kalief.
“Naming Rikers Island after Kalief Browder is disrespecting to his name,” Deion said.
Read the original story below:
Following the announcement that Rikers Island is set to close in the next 10 years, New York City politicians have voiced their desire to rename the jail after Kalief Browder once it is shuttered.
Public Advocate Letitia James said this past Sunday that if the notorious jail complex actually closes, she wants the city to rename it after Browder, a teenager who served three years in jail (two of which were spent in Rikers) for a crime he did not commit.
Upon being released in 2013 Browder committed suicide two years later. He was 22 years-old.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair, transparent and accountable,” James said during a press conference detailing a commission report that advocates for the complex to be shut down.
Although James wants to rename Rikers after Browder, some of his family members have mixed feelings about the tribute.
“It’s really appreciative and thoughtful,” Akeem Browder, Kalief’s older brother, said. “But it’s something we’d have to think over. The people should have this victory.”
“Thankfully the time has come,” Akeem added. “Maybe people will look at the Kalief Island, if they want to dub it that, and remember the tragedy that my brother went through.”
Browder’s story has resurfaced recently thanks to documentaries such as Ava DuVernay‘s 13th, as well as the Jay Z-produced documentary series on Browder.
After Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the plan to close Rikers, Jay Z voiced his support of the decision on Twitter.
“Kalief is a prophet. His story will save lives,” Jay Z tweeted alongside a Barack Obama quote. “You guys watching and your compassion made this happen. Thank you.”