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Kemba Smith

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Author and Criminal Justice Advocate


Kemba Smith went from college student to the girlfriend of a man involved in dealing drugs to domestic violence victim and in 1994 she was sentenced to 24.5 years in federal prison. Kemba’s case drew national attention and support from various organizations including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund which ultimately prompted President Bill Clinton to grant her executive clemency after serving 6.5 years.

Now, Kemba is an award winning public speaker, advocate, consultant, and author of Poster Child. She has been featured on several media platforms, 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. In 2019, she was appointed to the Virginia Parole Board in which she served for over two years. Recently, she acquired the title of executive producer of KEMBA, an MPI original film that is inspired by her life story. Her trauma-informed leadership has influenced policy and continues to impact communities across the world.