Who is Kemba Smith?
Kemba Smith went from college student to drug dealer’s girlfriend to domestic violence victim to federal prisoner; and was sentenced to 24.5 years in prison. Kemba’s case drew support from across the nation. Often labeled the “poster child” for reversing a disturbing trend in the rise in lengthy sentences for first-time non-violent offenders, Kemba’s story was featured on a variety of television shows and in several publications. The support prompted then President Clinton to commute her sentence on December 22, 2020.
Today, Kemba is a wife, mother, advocate, consultant, and author of Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story. She has worked with senior officials at The White House, the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Members of Congress, and has led trainings for Federal and State Probation organizations across the country. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her courage and determination as a motivational speaker and advocate. In 2019, Kemba was appointed to the Virginia Parole Board by Governor Ralph Northam and she continues to serve on the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. Prior to her appointment, she held the position of State Advocacy Campaigns Director with the ACLU of Virginia.
In addition, Kemba is a popular public speaker at colleges, high schools, juvenile facilities, churches, and national conferences around the nation. She has been corporately sponsored to speak at a variety of high school and college venues by Proctor and Gamble, Bank One Academy, Shell Corporation, Traveler’s Foundation, Verizon, BET and Gulfstream Aerospace. Ultimately, Kemba knows that there is a lesson in each experience in life, and she has embraced her experience, learned from it, and is now using that experience to teach others.
Kemba Smith Foundation, Inc. Is a 501(cX3) tax exempt organization that is organized exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes.
The foundation’s objectives include:
- Educating people, young and old, about a variety of issues that plague our communities including. but not limited to, use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, gangs, domestic violence, child abuse, AIDS, crime, rehabilitation of ex-offenders, re-entry of ex-offenders into society, racial problems and many other areas of concern.
- Eliminating injustices, prejudice and discrimination and combat community deterioration, juvenile delinquency and diffuse neighborhood tensions.
- Transforming real life stories into forums that will illustrate the detrimental effects of poor decision-making and inappropriate associations.
- Creating forums and round tables, through speakers, group discussions and other means, to educate the public about the criminal justice system and current drug policy.
- Developing goal setting programming and problem-solving techniques to help instill self-esteem in individuals and facilitate the reentry and rehabilitation of ex-offenders.
- Fostering an environment where people can develop a sense of identity, purpose, belonging and encourage family strengthening.
- Matching people with special needs with mentors.
- Providing resources and counseling services to assist families and/or people with family members who are involved with the criminal justice