Former student recounts her story of imprisonment to freedom

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ST. LOUIS - The three St. Louis area chapters of The Links, Incorporated came together to bring nationally acclaimed speaker Kemba Smith to Harris-Stowe State University to serve as the keynote speaker for The Relationship Spectrum: Good, Bad & Ugly.

The program was hosted on Saturday, January 25, at Harris Stowe State College, Emerson Theatre.

While in attendance at Hampton University, Smith says she met a man who turned her life into a nightmare. Kemba went from a college student to a drug dealer’s girlfriend to domestic violence victim to federal prisoner, leading her to a 24.5-year sentence. This sentence came with no chance for parole, despite being a first time, non-violent offender.

Fortunately, she gained her freedom when President Clinton granted her executive clemency in December 2000 after having served 6 1/2 years. Drawing from this experience, Kemba now shares her story as an educational tool to prevent other youth from going down a similar path.

Kemba has been featured on CNN, Nightline, Court TV, The Early Morning Show,

Donahue, Judge Hatchett, and a host of other television programs, Kemba’s story has also been written about in several national publications including The Washington Post, New York Times, Glamour, People, JET, Emerge, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and Essence magazines.

The program also featured a panel discussion on the topic of human trafficking. Speakers include a survivor and a victim counselor and former human trafficking investigator.


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