Growing up as an only child in Richmond, Virginia, Kemba Smith Pradia graduated high school and continued her education at prestigious Hampton University. What happened to Kemba in her new campus environment was a nightmare. In an attempt to “fit in,” Kemba associated with the wrong crowd and became involved with a drug dealer. He was a major figure in a crack cocaine ring and drew Kemba right in the middle of his life with physical, mental and emotional abuse disguised as “love.”
After enduring this turbulent four-year relationship in 1994, Kemba was sentenced to 24.5 years and served 6.5 years in federal prison. Fortunately, she regained her freedom after President Clinton granted her clemency in December 2000. Her case drew support from across the nation and the world to reverse a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first time non-violent drug offenders. Her story has been featured on CNN, Nightline, Court TV, The Early Morning Show, Judge Hatchett, and a host of other television programs.
Rock The Schools is a weekly podcast hosted by education activist, Chris Stewart. Executive Producer: Monique Linder Find our more at: citizenstewart.org.