Kemba Smith dead and obituary, Featured on CNN, Nightline, Court TV

Kemba Smith’s life took an unexpected turn during her college years, evolving into a nightmarish journey that resulted in a 24.5-year sentence in federal prison. Born and raised as an only child in Richmond, Virginia, Kemba Smith had successfully graduated from high school and enrolled at the prestigious Hampton University.

However, her life at the new campus proved to be a harrowing experience, leading her down a path that would drastically alter her future. Kemba’s compelling and traumatic real-life story is chronicled in her book, “Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story.” The injustices she faced garnered widespread attention, with features on CNN, Nightline, Court TV, The Early Morning Show, Donahue, Judge Hatchett, and various other television programs. National publications such as The Washington Post, New York Times, Glamour, People, JET, Emerge, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and Essence magazines have also covered her story.

After serving 6.5 years of her sentence, President Clinton granted Kemba Smith clemency in December 2000, commuting her sentence to time served. Following her release, Kemba became an advocate for criminal justice reform, receiving a two-year Soros Justice Postgraduate Fellowship for advocates. Governor Terry McAuliff appointed her as a member of the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission in December 2014.

Kemba’s impactful advocacy work extends to speaking engagements at various institutions, including colleges, universities, high schools, juvenile facilities, churches, and national conferences throughout the nation. Her commitment to educating the public about the severe consequences of current drug policies, as well as addressing issues such as crack cocaine sentencing, mandatory drug sentencing, women and incarceration, felony disenfranchisement, and re-entry, has earned her recognition and numerous awards.

In addition to her advocacy, Kemba shares her story as an educational tool, aiming to prevent other young individuals from facing similar challenges. She firmly believes that every life experience holds a valuable lesson, and she has embraced her journey, learned from it, and is now dedicated to using her experience to enlighten and empower others.

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