Kalief Browder’s Mother Laid to Rest in NYC

Venida Browder was remembered as a poet and singer, master of the sweet potato pie and fierce mother to her six children.

Venida Browder, the mother of Kalief Browder, speaking at an American justice summit in New York City on Jan. 29, 2016 Paul Zimmerman/WireImage

About 100 mourners gathered to honor 63-year-old Venida Browder’s life on Saturday in the Bronx, N.Y., according to the New York Daily News. Browder died after a series of heart attacks on Oct. 14.

Browder was the mother of the late Kalief Browder, the young New York City man who committed suicide about a year and a half ago after spending nearly three years at the notorious Rikers Island jail because his family could not afford $3,000 in bail.

While at Rikers, Browder, then 16, was shown on video repeatedly being tortured by guards and inmates alike and spent nearly 300 days in solitary confinement, which has been shown to cause psychosis and mental distress, especially on developing brains.

Venida Browder was the one who found her youngest son dead at age 22 in June 2015, hanging from a second-story window with an air-conditioning cord.

Family lawyer Paul Prestia suggested that Venida Browder died of a broken heart.

A native of Newport News, Va., Venida Browder was mother to five children: Shihahn, 39; Raheem, 34; Akeem, 33; Nicole, 27; Deion, 25; and Kamal, 24, and, last, Kalief. Her last four children were adopted.

At her funeral, her children spoke of their mother tenderly—of her legendary sweet potato pie, her skills at creating poetry and her days as a vocalist with the soul music trio Lady T and the Shontels, according to the Daily News.

“Her legacy is her kids. She took us in, she took in everybody,” said Akeem Browder.

Venida Browder earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition at Lehman College at age 51. She was also an avid gardener and loved to cook huge family meals.

She brought two lawsuits against the city of New York on behalf of Kalief: a wrongful death suit, and one for malicious prosecution and civil rights violations. Her family says it plans to continue the suits against the city in honor of their brother and mother.

Just a few weeks ago, rapper Jay Z announced that he was producing a six-part documentary on Kalief’s life and death for Spike TV.

Read more at New York Daily News.

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